Discrete element modelling of grain flow in a planar silo: influence of simulation parameters


C. González-Montellano, F.Ayuga, J.Y. Ooi


Springer Verlag


Granular Matter



There is extensive engineering literature concerning the prediction of pressure and flow in a silo. The great majority of them are based on continuum theories. The friction between the stored material and the silo wall as well as the inclination of the hopper at its base are considered to be the most influential parameters for the flow pattern within the silo.In this paper, the filling and discharge of a planar silo with a hopper at its base has been modelled using DEM. The aim is to investigate the influence of DEM model parameters on the predicted flow pattern in the silo. The parametric investigation particularly focused on the hopper angle of inclination and the contact friction between particles and walls. The shape of the particles was also considered by comparing spherical and non-spherical particles, thus providing an insight into how particle interlocking might influence solids flow behaviour in silos. The DEM computations were analysed to evaluate the velocity profiles at different levels as well as the wall pressure distribution at different stages during filling and discharge. A detailed comparison reveals several key observations including the importance of particle interlocking to predict a flow pattern that is similar to the ones observed in real silos.


Discrete element method, Funnel flow, Granular flow, Mass flow, Silo design

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