Three dimensional discrete element models for simulating the filling and emptying of silos: Analysis of numerical results


Á. Ramírez-Gómez, C. González-Montellano, E.Gallego, F.Ayuga




Computers and Chemical Engineering



The discrete element method (DEM) is a promising technique that allows the mechanical behaviour of the material stored in silos and hoppers to be studied. The present work analyses the numerical results obtained by two three-dimensional DEM models that simulate the filling and discharge of a silo for two materials: glass beads or maize grains. The aim of the present work was to assess the capacity of these models to predict the behaviour of the studied materials. To guarantee the maximum representativeness of the results, many of the simplifications usually used in DEM models were avoided. The results analysed included the vertical distributions of the normal pressure, tangential pressure and mobilised friction, the horizontal distribution of normal pressure, velocity profiles and the spatial distribution of the bulk density. The results of this analysis highlight the potential of DEM models for studying the behaviour of granular materials in silos and hoppers, provided that simplifications are minimized.


Bulk density, Discrete Element model, Flow, Hopper, Pressures, Silo

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