Two-dimensional particle shapes modelling for DEM simulations in engineering: a review


The Discrete Element Method/Modelling (DEM) is a well-elaborated method for modelling the dynamical behaviour of particulate systems. The term “DEM” refers to a family of numerical methods for computing the motion of a large number of particles such as molecules, grains, and rocks. Despite it was originally pioneered for rock mechanics, DEM is being developed for wide-range of applications in most engineering domains. The representation of particle shape geometry in DEM is crucial, which has a direct impact on the computational performance of the methods and on the dynamical behaviour of particulate systems. Most applications are limited in time of simulation to simple particle shapes due to the increase in computation with increasing complexity of geometry. Currently, many methods for particle shape representation are proposed due to irregular shape of the real particles. This paper reviews the research and methods of particle shapes modelling for 2D-DEM over the last three decades. This includes classification of particle shapes models in the different categories, applicable to numerous engineering disciplines that use DEM.

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The first author is immensely grateful to Prof. Ramon and Dr. Tijskens from Division of Mechatronics of KULeuven University and Department of Mathematics–Computer Science of UAntwerpen, Belgium, respectively for their valuable and general comments on the initial version of manuscript. The author express his thanks to Prof. Graham Mustoe, Colorado School of Mines; Dr. Kejun Dong, Institute for Infrastructure Engineering of Western Sydney University; Prof. Thorsten Pöschel, Institute for Multiscale Simulation; Prof. Álvaro Ramírez-Gómez, Technical University of Madrid; Prof. Tang-Tat Ng, University of New Mexico; Prof. Aibing Yu, Monash University of Australia; Prof. Hou Meiying, Laboratory of Soft Matter Physics (LSMP) of China; Prof. Bernhard Peters, University of Luxembourg; Prof. Mojtaba Ghadiri, University of Leeds; and Prof. Hans Herrmann, Institute for Building Materials of ETH Zürich, respectively for their modesty in responding and for sending the requested papers. Last but not least, we would also like to thank all the persons at Granular Matter-Springer who facilitated to complete this review paper in its printed format.

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Correspondence to Jalal Kafashan.

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Kafashan, J., Wiącek, J., Abd Rahman, N. et al. Two-dimensional particle shapes modelling for DEM simulations in engineering: a review. Granular Matter 21, 80 (2019).

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  • Computational simulation
  • Discrete element method
  • Mechanics of particulate solids
  • Mechanics of particulate materials
  • Particle technology
  • Shape modelling