Discrete element method modeling of non-spherical granular flow in rectangular hopper
Discrete element method (DEM) was developed to simulate the corn-shaped particles flow in the hopper. The corn-shaped particle was described by four overlapping spheres. Contact force and gravity force were considered when establishing the model. In addition, the velocity distribution and voidage variance of corn-shaped and spherical particles were investigated. The results show that the vertical velocity difference between centre and side wall and the horizontal velocity of corn-shaped particles are relatively larger than that of spherical particles. The mean voidage for corn-shaped particles is smaller than for spherical particles in any hopper. And the mean voidage values decrease with the increase of the ratio of width and length (D/L) and the ratio of height and width (H/D) for both corn-shaped and spherical particles. The local voidage profiles in hoppers with different D/L were also studied. It demonstrates that the wall effect on the voidage of spherical particles is more remarkable than that of the corn-shaped particles. The voidage fluctuations of corn-shaped and spherical particles decrease obviously with increasing D/L when the particles are far away from the wall. And when the particles are discharging, the wall effect on the spherical particles is more remarkable than the condition of packing naturally.
Keywords: Discrete element method; Non-spherical; Voidage; Velocity; Hopper; Flow behavior