Investigation on the impact of powder arching in small die filling

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Graphical abstractThe flow of particulate materials is critical during processes such as mixing, compression and packing. Non-cohesive arching, a feature characteristic of coarse and free-flowing particles, has been studied extensively for silos and hoppers. However, the arching of powders during die fill has received much less attention. In this study, die fill performance of coarse and free-flowing nonpareils was evaluated using a specially designed die filling device in order to investigate the impact of non-cohesive arching during die fill under gravity flow. Through evaluating die fill performance, the arching phenomenon during dynamic conditions of die fill could be captured. Nonpareils with large particle size increased the likelihood of arching and caused poorer die fill performance for narrow orifices. In contrast, die fill in large orifices was generally better with larger particles due to reduced inter-particulate friction. Both particle size and size distribution influenced non-cohesive arching during die fill. Forced feeding did not appear to affect die fill performance and non-cohesive arching. A critical particle size range beyond which die fill performance would decrease, particularly for the narrow orifices, was identified. Findings from this study provided a better insight into non-cohesive arching during die fill.

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