Computational Particle Mechanics

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 181–198 | Cite as

A modular, partitioned, discrete element framework for industrial grain distribution systems with rotating machinery

  • Guillermo Casas
  • Debanjan Mukherjee
  • Miguel Angel Celigueta
  • Tarek I. Zohdi
  • Eugenio Onate


A modular discrete element framework is presented for large-scale simulations of industrial grain-handling systems. Our framework enables us to simulate a markedly larger number of particles than previous studies, thereby allowing for efficient and more realistic process simulations. This is achieved by partitioning the particle dynamics into distinct regimes based on their contact interactions, and integrating them using different time-steps, while exchanging phase-space data between them. The framework is illustrated using numerical experiments based on fertilizer spreader applications. The model predictions show very good qualitative and quantitative agreement with available experimental data. Valuable insights are developed regarding the role of lift vs drag forces on the particle trajectories in-flight, and on the role of geometric discretization errors for surface meshing in governing the emergent behavior of a system of particles.


Discrete element method Contact Grain distribution Modular simulations Rotary spreaders 



We would like to acknowledge the kindness of Dr. Van Liedekerke from the Ecole Normale Superieure and Dr. Coetzee from University of Stellenbosch, who responded promptly to all our enquiries regarding their work.


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Copyright information

© OWZ 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillermo Casas
    • 1
  • Debanjan Mukherjee
    • 2
  • Miguel Angel Celigueta
    • 1
  • Tarek I. Zohdi
    • 2
  • Eugenio Onate
    • 1
  1. 1.International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE)Universitat Politecnica de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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