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Conveyors - Capacities

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Conveyor capacity is determined by the belt speed, width and the angle of the belt - and can be expressed as

Q = ρ A v                                     (1)


Q = conveyor capacity (kg/s, lb/s)

ρ = density of transported material (kg/m3, lb/ft3)

A = cross-sectional area of the bulk solid on the belt (m2, ft2)

v = conveyor belt velocity (m/s, ft/s)

The cross-sectional area of the bulk solid on the belt can be calculated as

A = U b2                              (2) 


U = non-dimensional cross-sectional area shape factor

b = contact perimeter between bulk material and belt (m, ft)

Non-dimensional cross-sectional area shape factors for various troughing belts are available from manufacturers' handbooks.


Typical Conveyor Capacity

  • 1 in = 25.4 mm
  • 1 ft3/h = 0.028 m3/h
  • 1 ft/min = 5.08 x 10-3 m/s

The product cross sectional area is defined by the idler trough shape and the product pile on top of the idler trough the trapezoid shape. This section on top of the trapezoid can be described with a circle and the angle this circle makes with the belt is the surcharge angle.

Typical Conveyor Cross Sectional Area

  • 1 ft2 = 0.0929 m2

Typical Surcharge Angles

Conveyors - Surcharge Angles
MaterialSurcharge Angle
Alum 25
Alumina 10
Aluminium sulphate 20
Ammonium chloride 10
Ammonium nitrate 25
Asbestos shred 30
Ashes, coal, dry 25
Ashes, coal, wet 25
Ashes, fly 30
Ashes, gas producer, wet 30
Asphalt 30
Bagasse 30
Bark, wood 30
Barley 10
Bauxite, ground, dry 20
Bauxite, mine run 20
Beans 5
Beet, pulp, dry 30
Beets, whole 20
Borax 20
Brewers grain wet 30
Brick 30
Calcium carbide 20
Carbon black, pelletised 5
Cashew nuts 30
Cement, portland 25
Cement clinker 25
Chalk, lumpy 10
Chalk, 100 mesh and under 25
Charcoal 25
Chrome ore 10
Cinders, blast furnace 10
Cinder, coal 20
Clay, dry, fines 20
Clay, dry, lumpy 20
Coal, anthracite, 3mm and under 20
Coal, anthracite, sized 10
Coal, bituminous, mined 50 mesh and under 30
Coal, bituminous, mined and sized 20
Coal, lignite 25
Cocoa beans 10
Coke, breeze, 6mm and under 20
Concrete wet 24
Copper ore 20
Copper sulphate 20
Corn, ear 25
Cornmeal 20
Cottonseed cake 20
Dolomite 18
Earth, as dug, dry 20
Earth, wet, with clay 30
Feldspar 25
Flaxseed 10
Flour, wheat 30
Fluorspar 30
Foundry sand, old sand cores etc. 25
Fullers earth, dry 10
Glass batch 10
Granite, broken, 75mm lumps 10
Graphite, flake 10
Gravel, pebbles 10
Gypsum, dust, not-aerated 20
Gypsum, dust, aerated 30
Gypsum, 75mm lumps 10
Illmenite ore 10
Iron ore, coarse crushed 20
Iron ore, crushed fine 20
Lead ores 10
Lead oxide, light 25
Lignite, air dried 10
Lime, ground, 3mm and under 30
Lime, hydrated 25
Lime, pebble 10
Limestone, agricultural 3mm and under 10
Limestone, crushed 25
Linseed cake 20
Linseed meal 20
Magnesium chloride 30
Magnesium sulphate 10
Manganese ore 25
Manganese sulphate 10
Marble, crushed 12mm and under 10
Mica, ground 20
Mica, pulverized 10
Mica, flakes 5
Molybdenite, powdered 20
Mortar, wet 24
Nickel-cobalt 10
Oats 10
Peanuts in shells 10
Peas, dried 5
Phosphate, triple super ground fertilizer 20
Phosphate rock, pulverized 25
Potash ore 10
Pyrites, pellets 10
Quartz 10
Rice 5
Rock, crushed 20
Rubber, pelletised 20
Rubber, reclaim 20
Rye 10
Salt, common dry, coarse 10
Salt, common dry, fine 10
Sand, bank, damp 30
Sand, bank, dry 20
Sand, Silica, dry 10
Sandstone, broken 20
Sawdust 25
Shale, crushed 25
Sinter 10
Slag, blast furnace, crushed 10
Slate 20
Soap, beads or granules 10
Soap, chips 10
Soda ash, heavy 20
Soda ash, light 25
Sodium nitrate 10
Sodium phosphate 10
Soyabeans, whole 10
Starch 10
Steel trimmings 20
Sugar, granulated 10
Sugar, raw, cane 20
Sulphate powdered 10
Talc, powdered 10
Titanium ore 10
Titanium sponge 30
Vermiculite, expanded 20
Walnut shells, crushed 20
Wheat 10
Woodchips 30
Zinc ore, crushed 25
Zinc ore, roasted 25

Surcharge Angle vs. Repose Angle

The angle of repose is considered the static rilling angle of a stockpile. 

Conveyors - Angles of repose
Angle of Surcharge
Angle of Repose
Typical Products
5 0 - 19 Uniform sized
10 20 - 29 Rounded dry medium weight
20 30 - 34 Granular and lumpy (like coal or Clay)
25 35 - 39 Larger lumps (like coal, stone, ores)
30 40 - 45 Irregular (like wood chips)

Typical Conveyor Capacity

The chart below indicates typical conveyor capacity vs. belt speed and belt width.

Multiply the volume capacity (m3/h) from the chart with the bulk density (kg/m3) of the product to estimate the weight capacity. 

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