(95k) Creating Tuneable Agglomerates via 3D Printing

Ge, R., Chinese Academy of Sciences
Ghadiri, M., University of Leeds
Bonakdar, T., University of Leeds
Zhou, Z., Monash University
Larson, I., Monash University
Hapgood, K. P., Deakin University

It is essential to offer a universally accepted way to systematically evaluate
agglomerate breakage propensity and mechanisms. Discrete Element Method (DEM)
simulation is a commonly used tool but is limited by the lack of identical,
controlled agglomerates to test and validate simple models, let alone replicate
the complex structure of real industrial agglomerates.

Our research presents a systematic approach to produce 3D printed
agglomerates with tuneable properties. Agglomerates with different mechanical
properties and structures were designed and printed by an Objet500 Connex 3D
printer. The tensile and shear strength of inter-particle bonds was
characterized using Instron tester. Breakage results of agglomerates with
simple cubic structures and the design of agglomerates with irregular
structures were presented. This 3D printing method will allow more rigorous
testing of agglomerate breakage models. Discrete Element Method (DEM) has been used to simulate the
agglomerate crushing using the Timoshenko Beam Bond Model (TBBM) with bond
properties matching the 3D printed agglomerates. For both two agglomerate
structures used in this research, the simulation and experiment showed similar
breakage patterns. However, the simulation results significantly underestimated
the compressive loads of spherical random structured agglomerates. In order to
improve the simulations of compressive granule breakage, the influences of bond
geometry definitions and non-linear behaviour of the bond contacts need to be