Numerical and experimental studies of the base pressures beneath stockpiles

J. Ai, J. F. Chen, J. M. Rotter, J. Y. Ooi

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Stockpiles are common for storage of bulk solids in many industrial sectors. One interesting phenomenon is that there is a significant dip of the base pressure beneath the apex of the pile which may have significant implications in the design of stockpile facilities and related support structures. This paper presents a numerical and experimental study of this phenomenon. Experiments have been conducted to measure the base pressure distribution under a stockpile formed with iron ore pellets and significant central stress minimum was revealed. Continuum analysis using the finite element method (FEM) was conducted to simulate the stress distribution in the test pile. It showed the critical importance of progressive pile development and nonlinear constitutive models. To investigate the underlying mechanisms further, simulations using the discrete element method (DEM) were conducted, which related well to the FEM predictions and revealed key aspects of the inter-particle force patterns. Both the FEM and DEM predictions show a dip in the base pressure distribution which is in agreement with test results, and reveal new key features of the mechanics of such piles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

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