Enhanced Standards for Particulate Storage Structures and Granular Solids Handling
ERPE research into shell structure design has worldwide impact in the storage and handling of granular solids. A core element of this research is to enhance and update EU design recommendations such as the Eurocodes (EN) and US (ASME and ACI) standards. With over 75% of the material feedstock industry being granular, ERPE research achieves impact in bulk materials handling across many industries. The key research outputs are:
- Exploration of practical shell strength and buckling conditions , developing a new framework, ensuring safe design by computational modelling , adopted into EN1993-1-6, with algebraic rules added to EN1993-4-1.
- Development of design rules for diverse geometries, loads, structural forms and applications.
- Silo solids flow transformation into practical procedures to reduce failure . These design rules are adopted in EN 1991-4, US ACI 313 and enhanced for ASME SBS.
- Development and verification of models to identify the parameters that control inter-particle interactions, packing structures, force chains and flow regimes.
Examination of material behaviour for complex solids and solid-structure interactions including the supply of solids handlability testers for DuPont, Coal Tech Pty and UK Coal, and advising on the 1M tonne installation at LKAB Sweden.
ERPE staff chaired six European standards committees: Shell Strength and Stability (EN 1993-1-6), Box-type Structures (EN 1993-1-7), Metal Silo Structures (EN 1993-4-1), Metal Tanks (EN 1993-4-2), Pipelines (EN 1993-4-3) and Silos and Tanks (EN 1991-4). "As a Eurocode Committee chair, I confirm that the Eurocode EN 1993-1-6 and EN 1993-4-1 was undertaken under the leadership of Edinburgh staff. Rotter’s personal contribution has ensured a more competitive European steel industry, which uses shell structures." Rotter is also a key member of the US ASME and ACI committees, which have directly adopted his design methodology.
The ERPE discrete element method (DEM) modelling research has led to a spin-out company DEM Solutions. "As vice President of Engineering, I can verify that the extensive research on DEM has made significant contributions to the success and growth of the company to become the market leader in DEM software and has directly contributed to the company securing a number of major clients around the world."
ERPE has designed novel testers for sticky mineral ore and cohesive powder solid handlability. "We have collaborated on the characterisation of detergent powder quality for 17 different formulas at 3 different process conditions - leading to a model permitting the design of powders which do not cake and delight the consumer. The developed methodology calibrates and scales the adhesive and mechanical properties which are then applied to model large scale manufacturing systems", Senior Scientist, Proctor and Gamble.
 Chen, L., Rotter, J.M. and Doerich, C., "Buckling behaviour of cylindrical shells with stepwise variable wall thickness under uniform external pressure", Engineering Structures, Vol. 33 (12), pp. 3570-3578, 2011. DOI:10.1016/j.engstruct.2011.07.021.
 Chen J.F., Rotter J.M., Ooi J.Y. and Zhong Z., "Correlation between flow pattern and wall pressures in a full scale experimental silo", Engineering Structures, Vol. 29, pp. 2308-2320, 2007. DOI:10.1016/j.engstruct.2006.11.011.