Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.59, No.24, 5917-5929, 2004
Flow of sphero-disc particles in rectangular hoppers - a DEM and experimental comparison in 3D
Flows of "sphero-disc" granular particles in a rectangular hopper are studied both experimentally using high-speed video recording and mathematically using the discrete element method (DEM). The flow behaviour of particles and their arching and discharging in the hopper are analysed and compared with the DEM results for three hopper openings. In general, good agreement is shown on particle static packing, the flow behaviour and hopper discharging rates and the arching effect when flow ceases due to an inadequate hopper outlet opening. Spherical particles with a similar volume to the disc-like particles are also tested and compared and a clear effect of particle shape on flow rates is shown. Although some minor discrepancies are shown, these are likely to be caused by the practical difficulties in matching the exact particle parameters between the simulations and the experiments. The DEM is shown to be a powerful tool to analyse the interactions between irregularly shaped particles and demonstrates a great potential in analysing detailed particle packing structure and flow patterns, which may lead to the elaboration of a novel method for hopper design. Further work will focus on developing DEM to model a wider range of particle shapes and hopper geometries, use of DEM for flow and structure analysis, and the development of more sophisticated measuring tools such as tomography to validate the DEM model. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.