(80e) Issues concerning Simulation of Industrial Particulate Handling and Processing Operations Using the Discrete Element Method

Authors: 
Favier, J., DEM Solutions Ltd.


The discrete element method (DEM) is well established as one of the key numerical modeling techniques for simulation of the mechanics of discontinuous media. It is being applied to an ever-increasing range of particulate processes in industries including mineral processing, fine chemical, pharmaceutical, agriculture, materials handling and construction. The number of publications related to DEM and particle mechanics simulation continues to grow exponentially. However until relatively recently DEM has been viewed as a fundamental research tool rather than a tool for use in process and machine design and optimisation similar to use of CFD and FEA. This perception is now changing with the development of commercial DEM tools more suited to a CAE environment. The driver underpinning the application of DEM to industrial problems is faster computers at an affordable price. The availability of distributed parallel cluster hardware is set to widen the range of application of DEM further.

Industrial application of DEM raises a number of issues that must be addressed for its effective use. These include the need for methods to determine DE model parameters from bulk as well as individual particle measurements, methods to determine suitable particle shape representation, more experimental verification of DE models, coupled and hybrid modeling of DEM with CFD and FEA, and establishment of benchmarking for DEM codes. In this paper we examine these issues in the context of commercial application of DEM and look at some approaches to resolving them.