From Geotechnics to Industry and back: An overview of industrial DEM and CFD-DEM Modelling of Particle and Fluid-Particle applications

  • Kloss, Christoph (DCS Computing Gmbh)
  • Moura, Augusto (DCS Computing Gmbh)
  • Togni, Riccardo (DCS Computing Gmbh)
  • König, Alice (DCS Computing Gmbh)
  • Viciconte, Giovanni (DCS Computing Gmbh)
  • Goniva, Christoph (DCS Computing Gmbh)

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The inception of the Discrete Element Method (DEM) by Cundall and Strack in 1979 was as a method for geotechnical engineering. DEM as well as DEM coupled to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD-DEM) are established techniques for optimization and design of particle processes. Granular materials and flows involving fluids and granular particles are everywhere - in industry, environment and everyday life. Sugar, sand, ores, tablets, chemicals, biomass, detergents, plastics, crops, fruits need to be harvested, produced, processed, transported and stored. Since it’s inception, particle simulations with DEM and particle-fluid simulations with CFD-DEM have become an essential tool for design and optimization of industrial and geotechnical processes. Historically, DEM has been applied to geotechnical and mining applications first, where many applications exist with manageable complexity and particle numbers. More complex applications challenges often typically arise from a combination of large problem sizes, long process times and the fact, that phenomena that arise at micro scales influence the macroscopic behaviour of the system. Advanced models are available that allow for the depiction of complex physical phenomena at very small scales, as well as coarser models for the mesoscopic scale and large-scale models for a whole reactor. While in the past, DEM and CFD-DEM methods were tailored to a narrow field of applications, modern algorithms and scientific model implementations allow for real multi-scale and multi-physics application for more complex systems. In this presentation, we outline an overview of DEM and CFD-DEM application from industry and geotechnics. We give examples for successful application of DEM and CFD-DEM modelling in a variety of applications, such as automotive, chemical industry, pharmaceutical industry, consumer goods industry, agricultural machinery production, and plastics production. This work has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 953167. This presentation reflects only the author’s views and neither Agency nor the Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.