Altair Announces New Coupling Solution Between Altair EDEM and Computational Fluid Dynamics Software OpenFOAM

Altair (Nasdaq: ALTR), a global technology company providing solutions in product development, high-performance computing and data analytics, has announced the availability of a new coupling with its Discrete Element Method (DEM) software Altair EDEM and open source computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software OpenFOAM. This coupling enables accurate simulations of particle-fluid systems such as fluidized beds, cyclones, pneumatic transport, and solid-liquid mixing.

This new solution expands the options for users wanting to perform coupled DEM-CFD simulations and provides an alternative to the well-established EDEM-ANSYS Fluent coupling.

The EDEM-OpenFOAM coupling overcomes one of the most common limitations with DEM-CFD coupled simulations – that particles must be smaller in volume than the mesh cells they occupy – which now allows engineers to simulate a wide range of application types that were previously not possible.

Developed using EDEM’s Coupling Interface, the coupling takes place through a new OpenFOAM solver called EDEMCouplingDPMFoam, which is based on the DPMFoam solver from OpenFOAM. During co-simulation, EDEM provides particle data to OpenFOAM, which is then used to create a particle injection for the EDEMCouplingDPMFoam solver. This injection of particles is the link between EDEM and OpenFOAM, allowing the calculation of hydrodynamic forces in OpenFOAM to be applied to the particles inside EDEM, in addition to the inter-particle contact forces EDEM already calculates. Users can then post-process their simulation in either EDEM or ParaView, the opensource post-processing software that is supplied with OpenFOAM.

The initial version of the EDEM-OpenFOAM coupling allows for momentum transfer between the two solutions. A heat transfer capability will be implemented in the next version.

The coupling has been validated against experimental data for several cases including a conventional fluidized bed, a spout fluidized bed and particle sedimentation. The figures below show the results for the fluidized bed and highlights the close match between simulation and experiment.

Figure 1

EDEM customers can access the EDEM-OpenFOAM coupling from the EDEM User Forum.