A parallel Discrete Element Method to model collisions between non-convex particles
1 Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
2 Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2
3 IATE, UMR 1208 INRA – CIRAD – Montpellier Supagro – Université Montpellier 2, Montpellier, France
Published online: 30 June 2017
In many dry granular and suspension flow configurations, particles can be highly non-spherical. It is now well established in the literature that particle shape affects the flow dynamics or the microstructure of the particles assembly in assorted ways as e.g. compacity of packed bed or heap, dilation under shear, resistance to shear, momentum transfer between translational and angular motions, ability to form arches and block the flow. In this talk, we suggest an accurate and efficient way to model collisions between particles of (almost) arbitrary shape. For that purpose, we develop a Discrete Element Method (DEM) combined with a soft particle contact model. The collision detection algorithm handles contacts between bodies of various shape and size. For nonconvex bodies, our strategy is based on decomposing a non-convex body into a set of convex ones. Therefore, our novel method can be called “glued-convex method” (in the sense clumping convex bodies together), as an extension of the popular “glued-spheres” method, and is implemented in our own granular dynamics code Grains3D. Since the whole problem is solved explicitly, our fully-MPI parallelized code Grains3D exhibits a very high scalability when dynamic load balancing is not required. In particular, simulations on up to a few thousands cores in configurations involving up to a few tens of millions of particles can readily be performed. We apply our enhanced numerical model to (i) the collapse of a granular column made of convex particles and (i) the microstructure of a heap of non-convex particles in a cylindrical reactor.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
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