ASTM D6128 - 06

    Standard Test Method for Shear Testing of Bulk Solids Using the Jenike Shear Cell

    Active Standard ASTM D6128 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.24

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    Significance and Use

    Reliable, controlled flow of bulk solids from bins and hoppers is essential in almost every industrial facility. Unfortunately, flow stoppages due to arching and ratholing are common. Additional problems include uncontrolled flow (flooding) of powders, segregation of particle mixtures, useable capacity which is significantly less than design capacity, caking and spoilage of bulk solids in stagnant zones, and structural failures.

    By measuring the flow properties of bulk solids, and designing bins and hoppers based on these flow properties, most flow problems can be prevented or eliminated.

    For bulk solids with a significant percentage of particles (typically, one third or more) finer than about 6 mm ( ¼ in.), the cohesive strength is governed by the fines (-6-mm fraction). For such bulk solids, cohesive strength and wall friction tests may be performed on the fine fraction only.

    Note 1—The quality of the result produced by this test method is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it, and the suitability of the equipment and facilities used. Agencies that meet the criteria of Practice D 3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this test method are cautioned that compliance with Practice D 3740 does not in itself assure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; Practice D 3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors. Practice D 3740 was developed for agencies engaged in the testing and/or inspection of soil and rock. As such it is not totally applicable to agencies performing this test method. However, users of this test method should recognize that the framework of Practice D 3740 is appropriate for evaluating the quality of an agency performing this test method. Currently there is no known qualifying national authority that inspects agencies that perform this test method.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This method covers the apparatus and procedures for measuring the cohesive strength of bulk solids during both continuous flow and after storage at rest. In addition, measurements of internal friction, bulk density, and wall friction on various wall surfaces are included.

    1.2 This standard is not applicable to testing bulk solids that do not reach the steady state requirement within the travel limit of the shear cell. It is impossible to classify ahead of time which bulk solids cannot be tested, but one example may be those consisting of highly elastic particles.

    1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard.

    1.4 The most common use of this information is in the design of storage bins and hoppers to prevent flow stoppages due to arching and ratholing, including the slope and smoothness of hopper walls to provide mass flow. Parameters for structural design of such equipment also may be derived from this data.

    This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 19.060 (Mechanical testing)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D6128-06

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