Statistical investigation of agglomerate breakage based on combined stochastic microstructure modeling and DEM simulations
The internal microstructure of agglomerates has a great influence on their stability and breakage characteristics. Therefore, to optimize production processes and to improve characteristics of the final product, it is very important to understand dependencies between structural and mechanical properties of agglomerates. In this paper, we discuss usage of the discrete element method (DEM) for understanding the breakage behavior of spherical agglomerates under uniaxial compression depending on their microstructure. A flexible stochastic model has been developed to generate agglomerates with various types of microstructures. As an example, we investigate the effect of the primary particle size distribution on agglomerate strength and breakage behavior. In particular, the size distribution of primary particles is specified by a mixing of two fixed particle sizes. The model construction ensures that the size and mass of agglomerates as well as primary particles and binder content remain constant in all experiments. From the obtained results it can be seen that the breakage behavior of agglomerates is influenced in different ways. Breakage energy and the maximum force applied before the primary break depend on the mixing ratio and the variability inside the microstructure. On the other hand, the size of fragments is very similar for all mixing ratios.
Keywords: Structure–property relationship, Agglomerate breakage, DEM simulation, Stochastic microstructure model, Statistical analysis