Granular Flow in Silo Discharge: Discrete Element Method Simulations and Model Assessment
Discharge dynamics of granular particles from a flat-bottomed silo is studied using both continuum modeling and three-dimensional (3D) discrete element method (DEM) simulations. Using DEM, the influence of microscopic parameters (interparticle friction coefficient, particle–wall friction coefficient and particle coefficient of restitution) and system parameters (orifice width) on the discharge rate is quantified. The spatial extent of different regimes (quasi-static, intermediate and inertial) of granular rheology are quantified using a regime map previously established from DEM data of homogeneously sheared granular flow. It is shown that all three regimes of granular rheology coexist during silo discharge, and the intermediate regime plays a significant role in discharge dynamics. A quantitative comparison between results of continuum and DEM simulations is performed by computing discharge rates, solid velocities, and solid stresses for a three-dimensional (3D) flat-bottomed silo. It is found that the three constitutive models investigated in this study overpredict the discharge rate when compared to DEM data. Contour plots of the error in solid stress prediction are compared with the spatial extent of different regimes of granular rheology to deduce that it is inaccurate modeling of the intermediate regime that is responsible for overprediction of the discharge rate.
Reprinted with permission from Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 52 (2013): 13171–13182, doi:10.1021/ie303598e. Copyright 2013 American Chemical Society.