DEM simulations of screening processes under the influence of moisture

F. Elskamp, H. Kruggel-Emden
Chemical Engineering Research and Design
Capillary and viscous forces, Discrete Element Method (DEM), Liquid Bridge, Moisture, screening

In a wide field of applications, screening is required to separate bulk materials according to their particle sizes. Due to environmental, material or process related effects, particles frequently prevail in moist conditions, which is not preferred due to attractive forces altering the screening efficiency, but often not preventable. As for the design of dry screening processes detailed particle-based simulation approaches like the discrete element method (DEM) and phenomenological models are available, a step towards meeting the requirements for real particle systems under moist conditions is made. Therefore, batch screening under the influence of moisture is investigated experimentally and by using DEM simulations involving different sized polyoxymethylene and glass spheres. For this purpose, a DEM code is extended to calculate forces caused by liquid bridges, forming out between particles or walls close to each other under moist conditions. Thereby, the bridge formation and rupture and the liquid distribution are considered. First, the DEM framework is validated against experiments by monitoring the capillary and viscous force acting on two liquid bridge contact partners. Further extensive validations are performed by comparing the fraction retained over time and the final liquid distribution for discontinuous screening under the influence of various amounts of liquid for different mechanical agitations in experiments and simulations. Finally, the detailed liquid distribution over time in the DEM simulations is examined and general conclusions are drawn. The overall aim is to use the framework and the respective data, to extend phenomenological process models for screening under moist conditions in subsequent studies.

Keywords: Discrete element method (DEM), Capillary and viscous forces, Liquid bridge, Screening, Moisture, 

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