Discrete Element Simulation Validation: Impact Plate Transfer Station
The design of conveyor transfer stations can be a complex process to ensure that reliable flow of bulk material will occur with minimal impact on infrastructure and the environment. Classical analytical methods can be used to provide a quantitative description of the flow of bulk solids through a transfer point in regards to trajectory and velocity distribution. Discrete Element Method (DEM) is a popular alternative numerical technique for modelling and visualising gross discontinuous material flow behaviour by analysing individual particle trajectories and interactions. The Discrete Element Method methodology has been well established but there is a lack of detailed validation of DEM models to experimental data and methods to calibrate DEM models to attain accurate predictions and results.
This paper presents a detailed comparative analysis between classical analytical methods and DEM to predict the flow mechanisms associated with the deformation of a bulk material impacting a flat plate. Results from DEM simulations and analytical models are compared with experimental results from a variable-geometry conveyor transfer facility to validate and evaluate the numerical methods to solve particulate flow problems. The study has focused on evaluating the ability to accurately model material discharge trajectories, the velocity of impact from the inflowing stream, the velocity of the material stream after impingement and the resultant forces on the impact plate. Methods to effectively calibrate the DEM material interaction parameters and scale parameters (e.g. particle size, solid density and particle stiffness) to reduce computational time and resources are evaluated to quantify the validity of the modelling technique against experimental results.
Keywords: conveyor transfer point, DEM simulations, impact plate