(6cm) Finite Element Method (FEM) Modeling of Hopper Flow
Finite element method (FEM) modeling is often used to model the flow of particulate materials. FEM modeling provides a computationally inexpensive alternative to the popular approach of discrete element modeling (DEM) and is more accurate than the approximate analytical theories. This work aims to clearly define the applicability of FEM in predicting various hopper flow characteristics such as the stress and velocity profiles, the mass flow rate, the mass/funnel flow region, the critical outlet opening for cohesive particulate material to ensure continuous discharge, and also the applicability to modeling eccentric hopper systems. The validation of these various characteristics is done by comparing the FEM results to their experimental counterparts whenever available, or by comparison to the widely accepted approximate analytical theories. The critical outlet opening, the velocity profiles, and the mass flow rates are experimentally validated. Applicability of the FEM modeling to eccentric hopper system is demonstrated through experimental comparison of velocity profiles. Investigation of all these flow characteristics demonstrate that the FEM modeling based on simple constitutive models such as the Mohr-Coulomb or the Drucker-Prager model is reasonably accurate for modeling hopper flow of particulate materials exhibiting negligible compressibility. FEM approach proves advantageous over the DEM approach and the analytical theories for modeling large industrial scale complex hopper systems and materials exhibiting properties dependent on the consolidation stresses.
Research Interests: Finite Element Method (FEM), Hopper flow, Continuum modeling, Cohesive powders, Cohesionless particulate materials
Teaching Interests: Fluid Mechanics, Gas Dynamics, Finite Element Analysis, Elasto-plastic constitutive models