Discrete element's capability of predicting material behaviour in a 3-D scale silo with a hopper at its base


A. Ramirez, C. González-Montellano, E.Gallego, F.Ayuga, J.M. Fuentes




AgEng 2010. International Conference on Agricultural Engineering



The discrete element method (DEM) is a numerical technique widely used to simulate the behaviour of granular materials. We have used this technique in the study of the material stored in silos and its interaction with silo walls. Thus, the aim of the present paper is to assess DEM’s capability of predicting, qualitatively and quantitatively, the phenomena occurring during silo filling and discharge.Most of DEM models developed by many researchers are two-dimensional, since this allows to reduce computational time. Although they are able to predict correctly some phenomena, others need to be studied three-dimensionally. In this paper, the filling and the discharge of three 3-D scale silos with a hopper at its base have been simulated using DEM. Different hopper inclinations as well as different particle shapes have been considered in order to evaluate their influence on different key features, e.g., flow pattern, pressure distributions, mobilized friction, velocity profiles and discharge rate.


Discrete Element model, Flow pattern, parametric analysis, pressure distribution, Silo

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