Marigo, Michele (2012)
Eng.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
In recent years, it has been recognised that a better understanding of processes involving particulate material is necessary to improve manufacturing capabilities and product quality.
The use of Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) for more complicated particulate systems has increased concordantly with hardware and code developments, making this tool more accessible to industry.
The principal aim of this project was to study DEM capabilities and limitations with the final goal of applying the technique to relevant Johnson Matthey operations. This work challenged the DEM numerical technique by modelling a mixer with a complex motion, the Turbula mixer. The simulations revealed an unexpected trend for rate of mixing with speed, initially decreasing between 23 rpm and 46 rpm, then increasing between 46 rpm and 69 rpm. The DEM results were qualitatively validated with measurements from Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT), which revealed a similar pattern regarding the mixing behaviour for a similar system. The effect of particle size and speed on segregation were also shown, confirming comparable results observed in the literature. Overall, the findings illustrated that DEM could be an effective tool for modelling and improving processes related to particulate material.
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