Effects of local vibration on silo discharge and jamming: Employing an experimental approach

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Mechanical Engineering, Sirjan University of Technology, Sirjan, Iran


Blockage is a common problem in many practical silo applications, and vibration seems to be a practical solution to overcome this problem. An experimental setup was developed to observe the effects of different vibrational parameters on vibrator anti-jamming efficiency. The silo was made of transparent plates to provide the possibility of watching the materials inside it. The outlet mass was recorded on a computer via a weighing load cell. The vibrator was installed at different locations on the silo walls to reveal effects of the vibrator position on its efficiency to prevent jamming. Moreover, relevant tests were conducted to reveal the effects of the vibration frequency. A vibrometer instrument with contacting probe was employed to measure the local vibration characteristics. The measured data was used to identify the vibration dimensionless acceleration. It was concluded that the location of the vibrator significantly affects its anti-jamming ability. Furthermore, it was observed that the vibration frequency and acceleration influence the impact of the vibration to prevent the silo jamming to some extent. It was observed that while the vibration does not influence the instant discharge rate it does considerably affects the average rate. 

Graphical Abstract

Effects of local vibration on silo discharge and jamming: Employing an experimental approach


  • Local vibration could increase the average discharge rate.
  • It was observed that local vibration does not affect instant discharge rate.
  • Location of the local vibrator is a key parameter on its anti-jamming efficiency.
  • Local vibration does not considerably affect the discharge rate of an unjammed silo.


[1] H.A. Janssen, Versuche uber Getreidedruck in Silozellen, Zeitschrift des Vereines Deutscher Ingenieure, 39 (1895) 1045-1049.
[2] M.S. Ketchum, The design of walls, bins and grain elevators, The engineering news, Archibald Constable & Co., New York, 1911.
[3] T.M. Knowlton, G.E. Klinzing, J.W. Carson, W.-C. Yang, , The importance of storage, transfer, and collection, Chem. Eng. Prog. 90 (1994) 44-54.
[4] D.M. Walker, An approximate theory for pressures and arching in hoppers, Chem. Eng. Sci. 21 (1966) 975-997.
[5] J.K. Walters, A theoretical analysis of stresses in silos with vertical walls, Chem. Eng. Sci. 28 (1973) 13-21.
[6] R.T. Fowler, J.R. Glastonbury, The flow of granular solids through orifices, Chem. Eng. Sci. 10 (1959) 150-156.
[7] W.A. Beverloo, H.A. Leniger, J. van de Velde, The flow of granular solids through orifices, Chem. Eng. Sci. 15 (1961) 260-269.
[8] I. Oldal, I. Keppler, B. Csizmadia, L. Fenyvesi, Outflow properties of silos: The effect of arching, Adv.Powder Technol. 23 (2012) 290-297.
[9] R.O. Uñac, A.M. Vidales, O.A. Benegas, I. Ippolito, Experimental study of discharge rate fluctuations in a silo with different hopper geometries, Powder Technol. 225 (2012) 214-220.
[10] S.-S. Hsiau, C.-C. Liao, J.-H. Lee, The discharge of fine silica sand in a silo under different ambient air pressures, Phys. Fluids, 24 (2012) 043301.
[11] S.-S. Hsiau, C.-C. Hsu, J. Smid, The discharge of fine silica sands in a silo, Phys. Fluids, 22 (2010). 043306.
[12] C. Perge, M.A. Aguirre, P.A. Gago, L.A. Pugnaloni, D. Le Tourneau, J.-C. Géminard, Evolution of pressure profiles during the discharge of a silo, Phys. Rev. E, 85 (2012) 021303.
[13] I. Zuriguel, A. Garcimartín, D. Maza, L.A. Pugnaloni, J.M. Pastor, Jamming during the discharge of granular matter from a silo, Phys. Rev. E, 71 (2005) 051303.
[14] Y. Yu, H. Saxén, Discrete element method simulation of properties of a 3D conical hopper with mono-sized spheres, Adv. Powder Technol. 22 (2011) 324-331.
[15] R. Kobyłka, M. Molenda, DEM simulations of loads on obstruction attached to the wall of a model grain silo and of flow disturbance around the obstruction, Powder Technol. 256 (2014) 210-216.
[16] L. Fullard, C. Davies, Ejection times from a conical mass flow hopper-coulomb and conical model differences, Appl. Math. Model. 40 (2016) 1494-1505.
[17] K. To, Jamming transition in two-dimensional hoppers and silos, Phys. Rev. E, 71 (2005) 060301.
[18] B.K. Muite, S.F. Quinn, S. Sundaresan, K.K. Rao, Silo music and silo quake: granular flow-induced vibration, Powder Technol. 145 (2004) 190-202.
[19] M. Niedostatkiewicz, M. Wójcik, J. Tejchman, Application of inserts for suppression of coupled dynamic-acoustic effects during confined granular flow in silos, Adv. Powder Technol. 25 (2014) 398-407.
[20] P.C. Arnold, A.S. Kaaden, Reducing hopper wall friction by mechanical vibration, Powder Technol. 16 (1977) 63-66.
[21] A.W. Roberts, O. J. Scott, An investigation into the effects of sinusoidal and random vibrations on the strength and flow properties of bulk solids, Powder Technol. 21 (1978) 45-53.
[22] T.H. Kollmann, J. Tomas, Effect of Applied Vibration on Silo Hopper Design, Particul. Sci. Technol. 20 (2002) 15-31.
[23] H. Takahashi, A. Suzuki, T. Tanaka, Behaviour of a particle bed in the field of vibration I. Analysis of particle motion in a vibrating vessel, Powder Technol. 2 (1968) 65-71.
[24] K. Liffman, G. Metcalfe, P. Cleary, Granular convection and transport due to horizontal shaking," Phys. Rev. Lett. 79 (1997) 4574-4576.
[25] A. Suzuki, H. Takahashi, T. Tanaka, Behaviour of a particle bed in the field of vibration II. Flow of particles through slits in the bottom of a vibrating vessel, Powder Technol. 2 (1968) 72-77.
[26] M.L. Hunt, R.C. Weathers, A.T. Lee, C.E. Brennen, C.R. Wassgren, Effects of horizontal vibration on hopper flows of granular materials, Phys. Fluids, 11 (1999) 68-75.
[27] T.C. Veje, P. Dimon, The dynamics of granular flow in an hourglass, Granul. Matter, 3 (2001) 151-164.
[28] C.R. Wassgren, M.L. Hunt, P.J. Freese, J. Palamara, C.E. Brennen, Effects of vertical vibration on hopper flows of granular material, Phys. Fluids, 14 (2002) 3439-3448.
[29] K. Chen, M.B. Stone, R. Barry, M. Lohr, W. McConville, K. Klein, et al., Flux through a hole from a shaken granular medium, Phys. Rev. E, 74 (2006) 011306.
[30] A. Janda, D. Maza, A. Garcimartín, E. Kolb, J. Lanuza, E. Clément, Unjamming a granular hopper by vibration, Europhys. Lett. 87 (2009) 24002.
[31] C. Mankoc, A. Garcimartín, I. Zuriguel, D. Maza, L.A. Pugnaloni, Role of vibrations in the jamming and unjamming of grains discharging from a silo, Phys. Rev. E, 80 (2009) 011309.
[32] J. Tomas, G. Kache, Micro- and macromechanics of hopper discharge of ultrafine cohesive powder, Int. J. Chem. React. Eng. 10 (2012) A44.
[33] C. Lozano, I. Zuriguel, A. Garcimartín, Stability of clogging arches in a silo submitted to vertical vibrations, Phys. Rev. E, 91 (2015) 062203.
[34] A.J. Matchett, A theoretical model of vibrationally induced flow in conical hopper systems, Chem. Eng. Res. Des. 82 (2004) 85-98.
[35] F.Y. Fraige, P.A. Langston, A.J. Matchett, J. Dodds, Vibration induced flow in hoppers: DEM 2D polygon model, Particuology, 6 (2008) 455-466.
[36] P. Langston, A. Matchett, F. Fraige, J. Dodds, Vibration induced flow in hoppers: continuum and DEM model approaches, Granul. Matter, 11 (2009) 99-113.