Influence of particle shape on mixing rate in rotating drums based on super-quadric DEM simulations

Shunying Ji, Siqiang Wang, Zongyan Zhou

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57 Citations (Scopus)


Fundamental research on the flow and mixing of non-spherical particles is critical for industrial production and design. In this paper, the Discrete Element Method (DEM) is used to study the flow and mixing of granular materials in the horizontal rotating drum, and the periodic boundary condition is employed to eliminate end wall effect. Super-quadric elements are adopted to describe spherical and non-spherical particles. The influences of rotating speed, blockiness, and aspect ratio on the mixing rate are investigated by the Lacey mixing index. The results show that the rotating speed has a primary effect on the mixing rate, whereas the effect of the particle shape on the mixing rate is a secondary factor for non-spherical granular systems. Moreover, the mixing rate of spherical and non-spherical particle systems is significantly different. The mixing rate of spheres is the lowest, and the cubes have a higher mixing rate than the cylinders. As the blockiness decreases or aspect ratio deviates from 1.0, the mixing rate decreases. Ordered face-to-face contacts and dense packing structures result in a higher mixing rate. The analysis of kinetic energy shows that particle shape affects the transfer efficiency of external energy to the granular systems. The translational kinetic energy of non-spherical particles is higher than that of spherical particles, and their rotational kinetic energy is lower than that of spheres. Meanwhile, the blockiness enhances the transfer efficiency of external energy to the non-spherical systems; in contrast, the aspect ratio reduces the energy conversion efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3540-3550
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Powder Technology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Discrete element method
  • Kinetic energy
  • Mixing rate
  • Rotating drum
  • Super-quadric elements

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