This paper presents a numerical study on the conveying of particles in a vibrating vessel under microgravity. Such a vessel is composed of parallel plates with sawtooth wavy surfaces, which are specifically designed to convey particles using simple vibration. The numerical model was validated by good agreement between the simulated and experimental results. Then the effects of key variables, including the vessel geometry, vibration amplitude and frequency and gravity level, were systematically investigated by a series of controlled simulations. The results confirm the optimised design from the previous experiments, and numerically demonstrate that using such a system a steady conveying operation can be achieved under microgravity. The convey rate is positively affected by the vibration amplitude and frequency in a complicated way, which cannot be simply described by the commonly used vibration intensity or velocity amplitude. The gravity level also has a significant effect on the convey rate when it is over 0.001g. The convey rate can be estimated by the product of the average solid fraction and velocity. And the effects of the variables can be better understood through the analyses on these two parameters. Finally, a predictive model is proposed to estimate the convey rate under different operational conditions. The findings are useful for the design of particle conveying techniques for outer space applications.
- Discrete element method
- Particle conveying