Numerous industrial operations involve fluid-particle systems, in which both phases display very complex behaviour. Some examples include fluidisation technology in catalytic reactors, pneumatic transportation of grain or powder materials, carbon nanotube alignment in the nano-devices and circuit integration and so on. In this paper, a macro particle method is developed to model the fluid-particle flows. The macro particle is formed by a collection of micro-sized particles so that the number of macro particles to be tracked is much less than the number of smaller particles. Unlike the calculations of instantaneous point variables of fluid phase with moving discrete boundaries of the smaller particles with direct numerical simulation, the boundary of each macro particle is just dealt with the blocked-off approach. On the other hand, the flow fields based on the present method is solved by original Navier–Stokes, rather than the modified ones based on the locally averaged theorem. The flow fields are solved on the length scale of computational cells, while the resolutions of solid particles are the size of macro particle, which is determined as needed in specific applications. The macro particle method is validated by several selected cases, which demonstrate that the macro particle method could accurately resolve fluid-particle systems in an efficient, robust and flexible fashion.

Keywords: fluid-particle systems, direct numerical simulation, CFD, DEM, contact mechanics

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