The design of bulk material handling equipment in mining or process manufacturing is closely linked to the understanding of the particles’ motion and interaction behavior.
The hopper investigated in this project was experiencing unequal discharge performance because of the variability of the material’s moisture content. Simulations allowed the team to calibrate the bulk material properties for different moisture levels and reproduce the hopper discharge in varying process environments.
The calibration needed first to address the particle size scale-up, which was achieved by cutting-off the cumulative distribution function to a reasonable minimum particle size as well as adjusting friction and restitution coefficients for a dry and non-cohesive material.
Then, the linear cohesion model was incorporated. Its parameters were iterated to reproduce the on-site behavior of the particles for different moisture levels. The project provided a database for material properties and interaction parameters for DEM modeling. It also enabled experts to characterize the discharge performance of the hopper.
- Geometry preparation
- Material calibration (particle shape and size distribution, interaction physics)
- Angle of repose tests
- Configuration of physical models and numerical parameters
- Baffle interface for hopper opening
- Test case for parameters validation and mesh independency
- Simulation monitoring
- Post-processing of DEM solutions: repose angle, visualizations, etc.
- Comparison of configurations
- Results and recommendations, presented to the end customer
- Production of all methodology and substantiation reports
TOOLS AND METHODS USED
- Discrete-Element Method (DEM)