Granular flow from a silo: Discrete-particle simulations in three dimensions
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Molecular (or granular) dynamics methods are used to study the gravity-driven flow of granular material through a horizontal aperture in three dimensions. The grains are spherical and modeled using a short-range repulsive interaction, together with normal and tangential frictional damping forces. The material is contained in a rough-walled cylindrical container with a circular hole in its base, and to permit flow measurements under steady-state conditions a continuous feed approach is employed in which exiting grains are replaced at the upper surface of the material. The dependence of flow velocity and discharge rate on aperture diameter is found to agree with experiment; other quantities such as the kinetic energy and pressure distributions are also examined.
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