Bulk Materials Handling Award for Innovation received for development of Generic EDEM Material Model Database

Dr. David Curry, Principal Engineer at EDEM has been awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Bulk Materials Handling Award for Innovation for his work to invent and guide development of the Generic EDEM Material Model (GEMM) Database.

The GEMM database is a world-first in the field of Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) and was developed to address one of the key challenges of DEM simulation: getting suitable material inputs for accurate representation of bulk materials.


For bulk materials simulation to be used as part of an engineering design process, it is essential to establish a link between real-world (such as rocks, sand, clay, gravel, or soil) and virtual bulk materials. Creating this link traditionally required engineers to have an in-depth understanding of the underlying physics of DEM combined with the precise calibration of the virtual material model input parameters. With numerous parameters to calibrate for every material model, this calibration would take even DEM experts many hours or days.

Dr. Curry recognized this process was a barrier to many engineers in industry who would benefit from bulk materials simulation and that a simpler system was needed to make such tools accessible to a broader audience of engineers. The GEMM Database was developed as a result of this. It is an innovation that eliminates the need for long calibration procedures while still maintaining the link between real and virtual materials.

First introduced in EDEM software in 2016, the GEMM database contains thousands of material models representing a wide range of materials such as rocks, soils and ores.  Engineers using the GEMM Database only need to answer three simple questions about the real-world material and the scale of the application that they need to simulate. Based on this information, the GEMM Database immediately provides them with an EDEM Material Model that contains all the required physics and associated parameter values needed to match the behavior of their real material. The calibration process that used to take hours or days, is completed in seconds.

Since its launch, the GEMM Database has been an essential tool for increasing the adoption of bulk materials simulation technology around the world. By removing the need for specialist expertise, the GEMM Database offers a new audience of engineers the opportunity to benefit from realistic bulk materials simulation as part of their equipment design process.

For more information about the GEMM database or to try it out visit this page.


About Dr. David Curry:

David Curry joined EDEM in 2006 having completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Edinburgh. Since then he has worked closely with industrial clients across a range of industries to help them deploy bulk materials simulation effectively as part of their design processes. His specialisms include the calibration of virtual material models and he has developed several novel calibration methods. He currently focuses on the development and deployment of co-simulation tools that integrate EDEM software with other CAE methods (such as multi-body dynamics and finite element analysis) to enable bulk materials simulation to be used by a wider engineering audience.

About the Award: imeche-logo

The IMechE Bulk Materials Handling Award for Innovation is designed to raise the profile of Bulk Materials Handling Technology and to reward instances of research, development or design which enhances the technology.

Applications are currently open to apply for next year’s award. More details available from the IMechE website.