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?
What is Fly Ash?
Coal power plants and other industries that burn pulverized coal must manage the resulting byproduct fly ash. When released directly into the air, fly ash negatively impacts air quality. In 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published requirements for the safe disposal of coal combustion residuals like fly ash.1 Today, fly ash is stored in concrete storage silos and domes and has numerous commercial and industrial applications. In paints, adhesives, and composites, fly ash is used as a filler. In the cement industry, fly ash can be added to mixes to improve concrete durability, make mixes easier to work, and improve permeability.
Marietta Silos leads the industry in fly ash silo construction and has constructed more fly ash silos than any other company combined. We have earned an unparalleled reputation for excellence through extensive experience with concrete fly ash silos with numerous leading power utilities and contractors throughout the United States. Marietta Silos is also highly experienced in silo building and design for bottom ash and palletized fly ash storage silos.
When it comes to storage dome cleaning and maintenance, it's important to consider how the unique shape impacts material flow and buildup. Regardless of whether domes store cement or fly ash, hardened material will still accumulate along the interior surface. To remove this material buildup from storage domes, specialized equipment used by silo and dome cleaning professionals is essential. Furthermore, the large, domed ceiling can make cleaning of material buildup more challenging.
Once fully empty and cleaned, storage domes can be inspected by a trained professional who can recommend necessary maintenance and repairs. It's also a good time to replace or repair existing fluidizing equipment, like air pads, to help ensure continued material flow.
Ready for your next dome cleaning? Contact USA Silo Services to Request a Quote.
1 US EPA, O. (2014, December 11). Disposal of coal combustion residuals from electric utilities rulemakings [Other Policies and Guidance]. https://www.epa.gov/coalash/coal-ash-rule.
Addressing Silo Emergencies
From unplanned downtime and lost revenue to silo failure and loss of life, the consequences can be dire when emergency silo issues arise. Without routine silo inspections, silo repair emergencies and structural failures can seem like they came out of nowhere. Failing to complete preventive maintenance is a leading cause of costly, dangerous silo failure. Addressing minor issues as soon as they arise helps keep the costs of silo ownership low as major repairs, emergencies, and structural failures are more expensive up front, take longer to correct, and inevitably result in unplanned downtime.
When emergency silo issues arise, Marietta Silos' team acts quickly to offer emergency services that meet all of your silo needs. Our experts have the experience and expertise to fix your silo problems for good.
Preventing Silo Emergencies
Though many silo emergencies can be fixed, the best way to protect workers and keep costs low is to prevent silo emergencies from happening in the first place. Regular maintenance and silo inspections are necessary to ensure that silos remain in good working condition and that any issues can be identified and addressed before they become larger problems.
Scheduling routine maintenance during temperate times of the year can help you reduce expenses by catching and addressing problems early and reducing downtime. Times of the year with mild weather, like the spring and fall, tend to provide better working conditions for various silo repairs. These ideal weather conditions can make a repair or restoration go more quickly – reducing the cost of labor and your downtime.
Contact us to schedule your next silo repair, restoration, or inspection.