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Posted by Dennis Blauser, June 13, 2023
What is silo engineering?
 
Silo engineering takes into consideration numerous elements to ensure the structural integrity of a silo design. The storage capacity you need helps determine the correct silo size, though other factors, including the seismic probability of your location, are also considered.
 
When designing concrete silos, Marietta Silos follows the silo design codes outlined in the American Concrete Institute (ACI) 313-16: Design for Concrete Silos and Stacking Tubes for Storing Granular Materials. As a member of the ACI Committee, we stay on the cutting edge of the latest industry standards and updates. We also often work with an experienced silo engineer to help ensure the structures are designed to withstand external forces and the static pressures exerted by the type of stored material at rest and during flow.
 
What are some important considerations when designing a storage silo?
 
Cement silo construction and concrete silo design consider the stored material, flow patterns, size, and more when creating a custom storage solution. All stored materials flow at different rates and via different flow patterns through a silo. Understanding how a stored material flows through a silo determines whether the silo should be designed with a flat bottom, funnel flow, mass flow, or expanded flow.
 
In addition to considering static pressures of the intended bulk storage material, silo engineers also determine reinforcement arrangements necessary for the silo size and silo construction type, Jumpform, Slipform, or Stave. Loading and unloading needs are also important considerations, as the most critical portions of this design involve the lower part of the silo. This is where large loads from the stored material are channeled. An efficient flow pattern allows for the effective unloading of the silo.
 
Marietta Silos' knowledge and experience mean that our designs will be the best possible designs to fit your needs. Our engineering practices conform with the method that our construction crews utilize for our Jumpform and Slipform systems, so it's important to use Marietta Silos for your silo engineering as well as the silo construction.
 
How much does it cost to build a silo?
 
On average, concrete silos are typically lower in cost than metal silos. However, because so many factors must be considered during silo engineering, setting one standard or fixed price is impossible. When determining the cost to build a silo, it’s best to start with a consultation with a professional silo engineering and construction company, like Marietta Silos, which uses a silo engineer to ensure your silo is designed to be structurally sound and economical for your unique application.
 
What is the difference between a tank, a silo, and a stacking tube?
 
While tanks are used to store liquids, silos are used to store bulk solids for a variety of industries. Stacking tube are much smaller than traditional storage silos. They are often used in coal plants, mines and storage facilities, shipping terminals, and limestone storage. The stacking tube format facilitates an even distribution of coal or limestone into neat piles. While stacking tubes can be constructed using the same Jumpform technology as much larger storage silos, their comparatively small size makes them a less expensive option for industries that do not have as much material to store.
 
What are the advantages of using a silo for bulk material storage?
 
Storage silos let you store materials in a smaller footprint when compared to a horizontal warehouse. When compared to piles, they also provide better protection from the elements.
 
What construction material is better for silos concrete or steel?
 
Concrete offers numerous advantages and provides better structural stability than steel or aluminum in constructing storage silos. Concrete better resists internal pressure that causes buckling, splitting, and other failures of steel silos, like abrasive inner wear from stored materials and corrosion. Using concrete instead of steel to construct storage silos eliminates these risks when combined with proper maintenance and inspection.
 
Concrete silos require minimal maintenance as they are not typically weakened by abrasive or corrosive materials or moist environments that lead to rusting in steel. However, when steel silos experience wall thinning from abrasive storage materials, corrosion from internal or external moisture compounds the risks of silo failure.
 
Ready to start your next silo design project?
 
 

 
Posted by Dennis Blauser, November 10, 2022
Storage silos, bins, and silo buildings fail at a higher rate than almost any other form of industrial equipment. That's because silo failure can include minimal events that do not cause safety concerns and catastrophic events where the silo and stored material are lost, neighboring structures are damaged, and serious injuries or death occur. To help ensure your silo can withstand daily stresses from stored materials and adverse weather, selecting the most durable silo construction material is essential.
 
Both steel and concrete silos are commonly used in industry to store ash, coal, lime, aggregate and more. Yet there is a clear winner when it comes to the durability of steel versus concrete for silo construction. Steel structures are notoriously susceptible to costly corrosion issues, especially with corrosive or moist stored materials. They are also highly susceptible to catastrophic failure from extreme weather conditions, including high winds. Concrete silos are favored over steel silos because they can withstand various harsh weather conditions and pressures that would cause steel silos to buckle. Concrete silo construction also provides better corrosion resistance, including corrosion of internal walls due to the stored bulk solid and external corrosion caused by moisture.
 
Concrete offers numerous advantages over steel in silo design and construction, resulting in minimal maintenance to sustain overall function and safety. However, all silos, regardless of construction material, are still susceptible to deterioration and wear due to environmental conditions and structural stress from normal usage. Periodic inspections can locate areas of concern and prevent issues, such as wall failure, cracking, and structural deterioration, that could lead to workplace injuries or deaths. Silo failure can happen for a number of reasons that are often preventable and easily corrected if caught early. A proactive inspection program can safeguard your team members and ensure your structures' safety and continued operation.
 
Ready to move forward with the construction of a new silo? Learn how to choose a silo contractor or schedule an inspection of your existing structure.
 

 
Posted by Dennis Blauser, July 11, 2022
Concrete silos have four different flow patterns depending on the construction, cone angles, and stored material. These flow patterns dictate how stored material moves through your silo.
 
Mass Flow Silo
  • First out flow sequence
  • Segregated particles remix as discharged
  • Ideal for coal, other combustible or perishable materials
 
Funnel Flow Silo
  • Middle first flow sequence
  • Should be emptied regularly
  • Ideal for coarse, non-degrading solids with minimal segregation and free flow
 
Expanded Flow Silo
  • Middle first flow sequence
  • Should be emptied regularly
  • Ideal for large diameter silos with short-term storage
 
Fluidized Flow Silo
  • Fluid-like flow sequence
  • Fine powders are aerated as discharged
  • Not suitable for combustible materials
 
Once a silo begins to lose flow, this accelerates the buildup over time and can lead to additional blockages. While these are the standard flow patterns for concrete silos, the unique shape of concrete domes creates a non-standard flow pater that can increase the likelihood of material buildup. The shape also makes removing said buildup from dome walls and fluidizing equipment more difficult. In both concrete domes and concrete silos, however, once material flow begins to slow, material buildup accelerates and can lead to additional blockages.
 
Proper material flow in silos is important for more than just production schedules. Issues with material flow can cause increased stress on silo walls that may go beyond what the silo was designed to withstand, causing cracking, spalling, wall separation, or structural failure.
 
Proper cleaning and care will increase your silo's useable lifespan and minimize big-ticket repair and cleaning costs. It can also allow you to recover stagnant material that has built up inside the silo.
 
Find out more about the different types of concrete silo flow patterns or schedule your next silo inspection.
 
 

 
 
 
 
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