Discrete particle simulation of particulate systems: Theoretical developments

H. P. Zhu, Z. Y. Zhou, R. Y. Yang, A. B. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Particle science and technology is a rapidly developing interdisciplinary research area with its core being the understanding of the relationships between micro- and macroscopic properties of particulate/granular matter-a state of matter that is widely encountered but poorly understood. The macroscopic behaviour of particulate matter is controlled by the interactions between individual particles as well as interactions with surrounding fluids. Understanding the microscopic mechanisms in terms of these interaction forces is therefore key to leading to truly interdisciplinary research into particulate matter and producing results that can be generally used. This aim can be effectively achieved via particle scale research based on detailed microdynamic information such as the forces acting on and trajectories of individual particles in a considered system. In recent years, such research has been rapidly developed worldwide, mainly as a result of the rapid development of discrete particle simulation technique and computer technology. This paper reviews the work in this area with special reference to the discrete element method and associated theoretical developments. It covers three important aspects: models for the calculation of the particle-particle and particle-fluid interaction forces, coupling of discrete element method with computational fluid dynamics to describe particle-fluid flow, and the theories for linking discrete to continuum modelling. Needs for future development are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3378-3396
Number of pages19
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Mathematical modelling
  • Multiphase flow
  • Particulate processes
  • Powder technology
  • Simulation

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