From micro to macro: A Comparative study of DEM and FEM in modelling hopper flow

Qi Luo, Qijun Zheng, Aibing Yu

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The discrete element method (DEM) is a widely used particle-scale approach for simulating granular dynamics. Recently, the Eulerian finite element method (FEM) formulated at the macro scale is also found to be applicable for granular flows . To what extent the two theoretically different methods compare with each other, particularly how to correlate the micro-scale and macro-scale parameters , is an interesting topic for researchers and engineers. This paper presents a quantitative comparison of DEM and FEM in a typical hopper discharge process. The direct shear test is firstly performed using DEM to evaluate macro parameters such as the internal friction angle, wall friction angle and dilatancy in different cases of inter-particle friction. Then both DEM and FEM are applied to calculate the discharge rate of hopper, using the micro particle properties and the derived macro parameters respectively. Overall, discharge rates yielded by FEM can agree quantitatively with those by DEM under various conditions. Slight difference exists because FEM often uses constant parameters for simplicity while in practice the values of these parameters fluctuate to some extent. Within the error scope of parameter selection, FEM can be considered as a reliable tool for simulating granular flows, and direct shear test is an effective way to obtain macro parameters from microscopic particle properties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Conference on Discrete Element Methods
EditorsXikui Li, Yuntian Feng, Graham Mustoe
Place of PublicationSingapore, Singapore
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9789811019265
ISBN (Print)9789811019258
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational Conference on Discrete Element Methods 2016 - Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China
Duration: 1 Aug 20164 Aug 2016
Conference number: 7th

Publication series

NameSpringer proceedings in physics
ISSN (Print)0930-8989
ISSN (Electronic)1867-4941


ConferenceInternational Conference on Discrete Element Methods 2016
Abbreviated titleDEM 2016
Internet address

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