New DEM Powder Calibration initiative to improve simulation of powder handling processes

Powders are at the core of numerous applications in the pharmaceutical, additive manufacturing, chemicals and other process manufacturing industries.

The Discrete Element Method (DEM) has proven to be a powerful tool to model and simulate a range of powder handling processes in those industries, providing key insights into processes such as mixing, granulation, segregation, coating, spreading, compaction and milling.

One key aspect of DEM simulations is to ensure that there is a link between the material represented in the simulation and the real-world material behavior. This is achieved via material calibration and involves validating models against some real experimental tests. When it comes to powders, this step can represent a barrier for users – as powders are complex and can have many different properties. One of the questions often asked is ‘what calibration tests to use?’


To help users address this challenge, EDEM has brought together leading organizations and experts from industry and academia worldwide to share experience and know-how on powder calibration techniques for various applications.

As part of this initiative, a ‘DEM Powder Calibration’ Meeting was held on Thursday 21 June in Edinburgh, UK and involved representatives from leading pharmaceutical companies, researchers from universities as well as powder testing equipment providers Freeman Technology and Granutools.


The focus of this meeting was on how to calibrate and develop appropriate DEM models for modelling powders. It provided participants with the opportunity to discuss their key challenges, hear from experts in the field and identify practical solutions for powder calibration.

Ian Williamson, CRO of EDEM commented:

At EDEM we are always looking to support development in the field of DEM and help our customers make the best use of this technology. In the process industries, the step of calibrating powders represents a genuine barrier so we are keen to bring together our great community of users from industry and academia to share their knowledge and learn from each other. This initial meeting was very successful with over 30 participants and some great presentations and discussions. We look forward to sharing the findings with the wider DEM community”.

Following this first event, a Best Practices document is under development and will serve as a foundation for future developments and industry meetings to continuously improve DEM powder calibration practices.

Interested to take part in this initiative? Please contact us.