Discrete Element Model Calibration Using Multi-Responses and Simulation of Corn Flow in a Commercial Grain Auger

Tekeste, Mehari
Mousaviraad, Mohammad
Rosentrater, Kurt
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Grain augers are primary grain conveying equipment in agriculture. Quantitative prediction of dynamic grain flow in grain augers using discrete element modeling (DEM) has potential to support simulation-based engineering design of grain handling equipment. The objective of this study was to develop a DEM corn model using a multi-response calibration methodology and validation of combine-harvested corn flow in a commercial grain auger. Using a Latin hypercube design of experiment (DOE) sampling from four particle interaction DEM parameters values, 27 DEM simulations were generated for four DEM corn shape approximations (1-sphere, 2-spheres, 5-spheres, and 13-spheres) to create virtual DEM experiments of bucket-discharged and anchor-lifted angle of repose (AOR) tests. A surface meta-model was developed using the DEM interaction parameters as predictor variables, and normalized AOR expressed as a mean square error (MSE), i.e., the sum of square differences between DEM simulations and laboratory-measured AOR. Analysis of the MSE percentiles with lower error differences between DEM simulations and laboratory AOR and the computational effort required per simulation (h per simulation) showed that the 2-spheres DEM model had better performance than the 1-sphere, 5-spheres, and 13-spheres models. Using the best stepwise linear regression models of bucket AOR MSE (R2 of 0.9423 and RMSE of 94.56) and anchor AOR MSE (R2 of 0.5412 and RMSE of 78.02) and a surface profiler optimization technique, an optimized 2-spheres DEM corn model was generated. The DEM predicted AOR with relative errors of 8.5% for bucket AOR and 7.0% for anchor AOR. A DEM grain auger simulation used as a validation step also showed good agreement with the laboratory-measured steady-state mass flow rate (kg s-1) and static AOR (degrees) of corn piled on a flat surface, with DEM prediction relative error ranging from 2.8% to 9.6% and from 8.55% to 1.26%, respectively.


This article is published as Tekeste, Mehari Z., Mohammad Mousaviraad, and Kurt A. Rosentrater. "Discrete Element Model Calibration Using Multi-Responses and Simulation of Corn Flow in a Commercial Grain Auger." Transactions of the ASABE 61, no. 5 (2018): 1743. DOI: 10.13031/trans.12742. Posted with permission.

Corn, DEM, Discharge angle of repose, Discrete element modeling, Grain auger, Lift angle of repose