Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2011

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering - (M.S.)


Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

Anthony D. Rosato

Second Advisor

Pushpendra Singh

Third Advisor

Ian Sanford Fischer

Fourth Advisor

I. Joga Rao


Experiments are commonly used to ascertain the flow properties of bulk solids. One such property is a measurement quantity known as the tapped density. Here, a container of granular material is subjected to a long sequence of discrete taps, after which the bulk density - the total mass divided by the volume occupied –- is determined. Current technology exists to achieve the maximum tap density by subjecting a container to a user defined number of taps at a specific, predetermined amplitude and frequency. However, the final bulk density is known to be dependent on the tap parameters. It can therefore be beneficial to alter both the frequency and the amplitude during the experimental process to determine what role these two factors contribute to the tap density of a sample. Thus, the topic of this thesis is the design, fabrication and testing of a mechanical system device that allows for finite control of the tap stroke and force, as well as quantitative measurement feedback for the motion of the sample.

The first phase of the work consisted of the design and fabrication of a prototype system, which was tested for the proper functioning of the mechanical components. The results of the tests suggested modifications were required. A series of revisions were preformed on the prototype in order to satisfy the updated design requirements. Final tests and calibrations were preformed on the new apparatus and the results are discussed.