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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2011

Andrew Phillip Grima and Peter Wilhelm Wypych

The purpose of this paper is to examine several calibration techniques that have been developed to determine the discrete element method (DEM) parameters for slow and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine several calibration techniques that have been developed to determine the discrete element method (DEM) parameters for slow and rapid unconfined flow of granular conical pile formation. This paper also aims to discuss some of the methods currently employed to scale particle properties to reduce computational resources and time to solve large DEM models.

Design/methodology/approach

DEM models have been calibrated against simple bench‐scale experimental results to examine the validity of selected parameters for the contact, material and mechanical models to simulate the dynamic and static behaviour of cohesionless polyethylene pellets. Methods to determine quantifiable single particle parameters such as static friction and the coefficient of restitution have been highlighted. Numerical and experimental granular pile formation has been investigated using different slumping and pouring techniques to examine the dependency of the type of flow mechanism on the DEM parameters.

Findings

The proposed methods can provide cost effective and simple techniques to determine suitable input parameters for DEM models. Rolling friction and particle shape representation has shown to have a significant influence on the bulk flow characteristics via a sensitivity analysis and needs to be accessed based on the environmental conditions.

Originality/value

This paper describes several effective known and novel methodologies to characterise granular materials that are needed to accurately model granular flow using the DEM to provide valuable quantitative data. For the DEM to be a viable predictive tool in industrial applications which often contain huge quantities of particles with random particle shapes and irregular properties, quick and validated techniques to “tune” DEM models are necessary.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2009

Mohamad Abd Manap, Mohammad Firuz Ramli and Ghufran Redzwan

The purpose of this paper is to utilise the interactive view capability of the geographical information system (GIS) for the geological interpretation in Klang Valley, Malaysia.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to utilise the interactive view capability of the geographical information system (GIS) for the geological interpretation in Klang Valley, Malaysia.

Design/methodology/approach

Topographical map scale of 1:10 000 was used to generate digital elevation model (DEM). The geological map was draped over the DEM to create a 3D perspective view. The geological interpretation was undertaken using the 3D capability of the GIS software.

Findings

From the study, five lineaments which could possibly be the newly identified faults and one lithological boundary have been delineated.

Research limitations/implications

Although these findings need to be rechecked in the field, they show the capability of the DEM application in structural geology interpretation.

Practical implications

The results obtained from this study demonstrate the capability of utilising a geological map draped over DEM for structural geological interpretation. Thus the technique may increase the interpretation accuracy.

Originality/value

The major outcome of this research is the possible use of DEM in the application of geological study.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

Petros I. Komodromos and John R. Williams

The discrete element methods (DEM) are numerical techniques that have been specifically developed to enable simulations of systems of multiple distinct, typically…

Abstract

The discrete element methods (DEM) are numerical techniques that have been specifically developed to enable simulations of systems of multiple distinct, typically infinitely rigid, bodies that interact with each other through contact forces. However, there are multibody systems for which it is useful to consider the deformability of the simulated bodies and enable the evaluation of their stress and strain distributions. This paper focuses on the simulation of deformable multibody systems using a combination of DEM and finite element methods (FEM). In particular, an updated Lagrangian (UL) finite element (FE) formulation and an explicit time integration scheme are used together with some simplifying assumptions to linearize this highly nonlinear contact problem and obtain solutions with realistic computational cost and sufficiently good accuracy. In addition, this paper describes a software implementation of this formulation, which utilizes the Java programming language and the Java3D graphics application programming interface (API), as well as database technology.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 21 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

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Article
Publication date: 16 April 2018

Beichuan Yan and Richard Regueiro

The purpose of this paper is to extend complex-shaped discrete element method simulations from a few thousand particles to millions of particles by using parallel…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend complex-shaped discrete element method simulations from a few thousand particles to millions of particles by using parallel computing on department of defense (DoD) supercomputers and to study the mechanical response of particle assemblies composed of a large number of particles in engineering practice and laboratory tests.

Design/methodology/approach

Parallel algorithm is designed and implemented with advanced features such as link-block, border layer and migration layer, adaptive compute gridding technique and message passing interface (MPI) transmission of C++ objects and pointers, for high performance optimization; performance analyses are conducted across five orders of magnitude of simulation scale on multiple DoD supercomputers; and three full-scale simulations of sand pluviation, constrained collapse and particle shape effect are carried out to study mechanical response of particle assemblies.

Findings

The parallel algorithm and implementation exhibit high speedup and excellent scalability, communication time is a decreasing function of the number of compute nodes and optimal computational granularity for each simulation scale is given. Nearly 50 per cent of wall clock time is spent on rebound phenomenon at the top of particle assembly in dynamic simulation of sand gravitational pluviation. Numerous particles are necessary to capture the pattern and shape of particle assembly in collapse tests; preliminary comparison between sphere assembly and ellipsoid assembly indicates a significant influence of particle shape on kinematic, kinetic and static behavior of particle assemblies.

Originality/value

The high-performance parallel code enables the simulation of a wide range of dynamic and static laboratory and field tests in engineering applications that involve a large number of granular and geotechnical material grains, such as sand pluviation process, buried explosion in various soils, earth penetrator interaction with soil, influence of grain size, shape and gradation on packing density and shear strength and mechanical behavior under different gravity environments such as on the Moon and Mars.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

J.P. Morris, M.B. Rubin, S.C. Blair, L.A. Glenn and F.E. Heuze

We present the preliminary results from a parameter study investigating the stability of underground structures in response to explosion‐induced strong ground motions. In…

Abstract

We present the preliminary results from a parameter study investigating the stability of underground structures in response to explosion‐induced strong ground motions. In practice, even the most sophisticated site characterization may lack key details regarding precise joint properties and orientations within the rock mass. Thus, in order to place bounds upon the predicted behavior of a given facility, an extensive series of simulations representing different realizations may be required. The influence of both construction parameters (reinforcement, rock bolts, liners) and geological parameters (joint stiffness, joint spacing and orientation, and tunnel diameter to block size ratio) must be considered. We discuss the distinct element method (DEM) with particular emphasis on techniques for achieving improved computational efficiency, including the handling of contact detection and approaches to parallelization. We introduce a new approach for simulating deformation of the discrete blocks using the theory of a Cosserat point, which does not require internal discretization of the blocks. We also outline the continuum techniques we employ to obtain boundary conditions for the distinct element simulations. We present results from simulations of dynamic loading of several generic subterranean facilities in hard rock, demonstrating the suitability of the DEM for this application. These results demonstrate the significant role that joint geometry plays in determining the response of a given facility.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 21 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Dawei Zhao, Erfan G. Nezami, Youssef M.A. Hashash and Jamshid Ghaboussi

Develop a new three‐dimensional discrete element code (BLOKS3D) for efficient simulation of polyhedral particles of any size. The paper describes efficient algorithms for…

Abstract

Purpose

Develop a new three‐dimensional discrete element code (BLOKS3D) for efficient simulation of polyhedral particles of any size. The paper describes efficient algorithms for the most important ingredients of a discrete element code.

Design/methodology/approach

New algorithms are presented for contact resolution and detection (including neighbor search and contact detection sections), contact point and force detection, and contact damping. In contact resolution and detection, a new neighbor search algorithm called TLS is described. Each contact is modeled with multiple contact points. A non‐linear force‐displacement relationship is suggested for contact force calculation and a dual‐criterion is employed for contact damping. The performance of the algorithm is compared to those currently available in the literature.

Findings

The algorithms are proven to significantly improve the analysis speed. A series of examples are presented to demonstrate and evaluate the performance of the proposed algorithms and the overall discrete element method (DEM) code.

Originality/value

Long computational times required to simulate large numbers of particles have been a major hindering factor in extensive application of DEM in many engineering applications. This paper describes an effort to enhance the available algorithms and further the engineering application of DEM.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 23 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2015

Yuanqiang Tan, Rong Deng, Y T Feng, Hao Zhang and Shengqiang Jiang

The purpose of this paper is to establish a new two-phase Discrete Element Method (DEM) model to investigate the movement of fresh concrete which consists of mortar and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish a new two-phase Discrete Element Method (DEM) model to investigate the movement of fresh concrete which consists of mortar and aggregate. The established DEM model was adopted to simulate the mixing process of fresh concrete based on the commercial software package PFC3D. The trajectories of particles and particle clusters were recorded to analyze the mixing behavior from different scales. On one hand, the macro-scale movement was obtained to make the mixing process visualization. On the other hand, the relative micro movement of the single particle and particle clusters was also monitored to further study the mixing mechanism of the fresh concrete.

Design/methodology/approach

A new two-phase DEM model was designed to simulate the movement of fresh concrete which consists of mortar and aggregate. The linear-spring dashpot model was used to model all the contacts between particle and particle/wall to characterize the viscidity of fresh concrete. Moreover, two sets of parallel bond models were employed to characterize the contact between the mortar particles and mortar/coarse aggregate particles, namely the pbond1 and pbond2. The hybrid treatment enables the current DEM model to handle the yield behavior.

Findings

The mixing process of fresh concrete is mainly composed by the transportation in the x-direction and the overturn and fall off in the y- and z-directions. With these movements in different directions, the concrete particles can be fully mixed in the mixing drum.

Originality/value

A new two-phase DEM model was proposed and used to simulate the mixing process of fresh concrete. The outcomes of the simulation would be helpful for making the transporting truck visualization and the movement behavior of fresh concrete observable. The model can provide dynamic information of particles to reveal the interaction mechanism of fresh concrete in the truck mixer which is extremely difficult to obtain on-line in physical experiments or building site.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Budong Yang, Yue Jiao and Shuting Lei

To use distinct element simulation (PFC2D) to investigate the relationships between microparameters and macroproperties of the specimens that are modeled by bonded…

Abstract

Purpose

To use distinct element simulation (PFC2D) to investigate the relationships between microparameters and macroproperties of the specimens that are modeled by bonded particles. To determine quantitative relationships between particle level parameters and mechanical properties of the specimens.

Design/methodology/approach

A combined theoretical and numerical approach is used to achieve the objectives. First, theoretical formulations are proposed for the relationships between microparameters and macroproperties. Then numerical simulations are conducted to quantify the relationships.

Findings

The Young's modulus is mainly determined by particle contact modulus and affected by particle stiffness ratio and slightly affected by particle size. The Poisson's ratio is mainly determined by particle stiffness ratio and slightly affected by particle size. The compressive strength can be scaled by either the bond shear strength or the bond normal strength depending on the ratio of the two quantities.

Research limitations/implications

The quantitative relationships between microparameters and macroproperties for parallel‐bonded PFC2D specimens are empirical in nature. Some modifications may be needed to model a specific material. The effects of the particle distribution and bond strength distribution of a PFC2D specimen are very important aspects that deserve further investigation.

Practical implications

The results will provide guidance for people who use distinct element method, especially the PFC2D, to model brittle materials such as rocks and ceramics.

Originality/value

This paper offers some new quantitative relationships between microparameters and macroproperties of a synthetic specimen created using bonded particle model.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2009

Scott M. Johnson, John R. Williams and Benjamin K. Cook

Though the problem of resolving translational motion in particle methods is a relatively straightforward task, the complications of resolving rotational motion are…

Abstract

Purpose

Though the problem of resolving translational motion in particle methods is a relatively straightforward task, the complications of resolving rotational motion are non‐trivial. Many molecular dynamics and non‐deformable discrete element applications employ an explicit integration for resolving orientation, often involving products of matrices, which have well‐known drawbacks. The purpose of this paper is to investigate commonly used algorithms for resolving rotational motion and describe the application of quaternion‐based approaches to discrete element method simulations.

Design/methodology/approach

Existing algorithms are compared against a quaternion‐based reparameterization of both the central difference algorithm and the approach of Munjiza et al. for finite/discrete element modeling (FEM/DEM) applications for the case of torque‐free precession.

Findings

The resultant algorithms provide not only guaranteed orthonormality of the resulting rotation but also allow assumptions of small‐angle rotation to be relaxed and the use of a more accurate Taylor expansion instead.

Originality/value

The approaches described in this paper balance ease of implementation within existing explicit codes with computational efficiency and accuracy appropriate to the order of error in many discrete element method simulations.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

Benjamin K. Cook, David R. Noble and John R. Williams

A coupled numerical method for the direct simulation of particle‐fluid systems is formulated and implemented. The Navier‐Stokes equations governing fluid flow are solved…

Abstract

A coupled numerical method for the direct simulation of particle‐fluid systems is formulated and implemented. The Navier‐Stokes equations governing fluid flow are solved using the lattice Boltzmann method, while the equations of motion governing particles are solved with the discrete element method. Particle‐fluid coupling is realized through an immersed moving boundary condition. Particle forcing mechanisms represented in the model to at least the first‐order include static and dynamic fluid‐induced forces, and intergranular forces including particle collisions, static contacts, and cementation. The coupling scheme is validated through a comparison of simulation results with the analytical solution of cylindrical Couette flow. Simulation results for the fluid‐induced erosive failure of a cemented particulate constriction are presented to demonstrate the capability of the method.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 21 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

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