How to Design and Implement Chutes in Bulk Solids Handling Systems

Chute Design Essentials

How to Design and Implement Chutes in Bulk Solids Handling Systems

Chutes are in use in almost every bulk solids handling plant. Although everybody knows them, they are mostly overlooked, except for those cases where they cause extra-attention and -work due to malfunctioning. This article attempts to give the reader some simple rules to apply to chute design.
(ed. WoMaMarcel - 20/4/2016)
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7. Design Principles For Chute Design

7.1. Design Principle 1 – Prevent Plugging At Impact Points

The chute face must be sufficiently smooth and steep to allow sliding and hence clean-off of the stickiest material that it has to handle.

The impact pressure at any point that the material stream impacts the chute face is presented in Fig. 14

The velocity following an impact with the chute surface may be calculated from Fig. 15.

Stagnation and hence plugging will occur when V2 = 0 m/s.

It is critical that the velocity at the point in question be accurately estimated.

Fig. 14: Formular for impact pressure.

Fig. 15: Velocity after impact.

As the material moves through the chute it may be subjected to different acceleration forces such as sliding along the chute plates or free falling through the vertical section of a chute.

The acceleration along a face of the chute is calculated as


And the velocity is calculated as



V0 = velocity at the start of the incline
S = length of the incline.

For free fall the velocity is calculated as



S = height of the free fall
g = acceleration due to gravity.

For a section of the chute at a slightly different inclination, the starting velocity



β is the inclination of the section.

Acceleration over this section is


so that the exit velocity


The stream velocity in the belt direction:


The vertical component is


The impact pressure of the stream with the belt


7.2. Design Principle 2 – Ensure Sufficient Cross-Sectional Area

Always ensure that there is sufficient belt cross-sectional area to allow for the free flow of material through different sections of the chute.

Eq. (1) given in Section 4.2. must be valid at all sections through the chute.

7.3. Design Principle 3 – Control Stream of Particles

It is critical to retain control of the material flow through the chute in order to ensure efficient transfer.

The following figures and formulae give the design principles employed with both a material stream falling under gravity as well as that where material exits the chute with significant velocity.

The case illustrated in Fig. 16 shows slow moving particles exiting the discharge chute and falling through a free-fall vertical portion of the chute onto the curved 'spoon' chute.

Fig. 16: Chute flow configuration – in-line transfer.

The flow into the curved bottom section of the chute may be illustrated by the free body diagram in Fig. 17.

Fig. 17: Spoon chute flow model.

For a chute of rectangular cross-section we find



V0 = initial velocity at entry to stream
H0 = initial stream thickness

Analysing the dynamic equilibrium conditions of Fig. 16 leads to the following differential equation:


On conditon that the curved section of the chute is of constant radius R and assuming that μE remains constant at an average value for whole of the stream, it may be shown that the solution of the above equation leads to Eq. 23 for the velocity at any location


For v = v0 at θ = θ0


Special case:  
when θ0 = 0 and v = v0, then


Eq. 23 then becomes


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