Numerical analysis of flow pattern transition in a conical silo with ellipsoid particles
Gravity-driven discharge flow in conical silos is ubiquitous in manufacturing processes for numerous industries such as food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, wherein flow pattern is the key topic to be studied. In this work, discrete element method was used to study discharge flow behaviors in a special conical silo. This work aims to understand the dynamic evolution of discharge flow pattern and establish methods for regional determination of flow pattern transition. The results indicated that both mass flow and funnel flow patterns coexist in the silo at the initial stage of discharge, and there is a definite transition process from mass flow to funnel flow. Furthermore, the flow pattern transition is revealed by the change in discharge flow characteristics. Specifically, the change in force acting on particles leads to the change of particle orientation and particle velocity field, macroscopically resulting in the flow pattern transition. Finally, based on the kinetic stress field and shear rate, the height and radial region of flow pattern transition were determined, respectively. Understanding of the flow pattern transition is useful to the design, scale-up and optimization of silos and similar structural devices.
Keywords: Discrete element method, Ellipsoid particles, Conical silo, Flow pattern transition,