Continuum modelling of the granular dynamics by finite element method
Q. J. Zheng and A. B. Yu *
Laboratory for Simulation and Modelling of Particulate Systems
Department of Chemical Engineering
Clayton, Vic 3800, Australia
Granular material, as the second largest material (next to water) we humans handle, can widely be found in nature and in industry. However, different from its comparative phases such as gas and liquid, it still lacks a general theory to describe its dynamics, and our understanding towards it in 1998 was still at the level of solid-state physics in the 1930s. This talk describes an Eulerian-formulation finite element method (FEM) approach to meet this need by focusing on a long-standing problem in this field, i.e. the counterintuitive pressure dip phenomenon occurring under a granular pile. Our results demonstrate that i) dynamic history is a critical factor in the successful description of pressure dip, and ii) the dip is complicated in nature, being sensitive to numerous variables associated with both the piling operation and the material properties. The proposed approach not only satisfactorily reproduces the different dip or non-dip behaviours observed in experiments but also indicate a new direction to describe the granular matter at the continuum/macroscopic level. This is demonstrated in our more recent studies of granular flow in process vessels such as hoppers and rotating drums.
Keywords: granular dynamics; continuum modelling, finite element method
* Corresponding author: telephone: +61 3 99050847; Email: Aibing.Yu@monash.edu.au.
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