Flow Analysis of Non-Spherical Granular Materials in a Two-Dimensional Hopper




Mortezapour, Abdolreza

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Non-spherical granular materials have been of an interest for the various research communities and industries due to their widespread presence in natural and engineered systems. These materials, which include substances like soil, powders, dry sludges, and grains, exhibit complex behaviors influenced by factors such as grains interactions and boundary conditions. Under sufficient conditions, these materials can flow, ranking second only to water as the most handled materials in diverse industries. Therefore, understanding how these materials flow is important in different domains, from wastewater treatment and mining to food and pharmaceutical industries. Granular flow within hoppers, driven by gravity, provides cost-effective transportation and is widely used in material handling and storage systems. This research aims to investigate the behavior of non-spherical grains in flow within a hopper through implementing a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) suite and using a previously developed model for non-spherical granular flow. A simulation similar to an available experiment is conducted by implementing the developed model for both spherical and non-spherical grains. The results from the simulation consistently align with those of the experiment, demonstrating the validity and accuracy of the simulation. Moving forward, more complex conditions in a practical application are examined to showcase the capability of the model and the implementation approach. The simulation results reveal the effect of boundary conditions and model parameters on grains orientation and flow within the hopper. The main motivation behind this research lies in establishing a foundation for utilizing the capabilities of a FEA suite to facilitate further investigations spanning a broad range of geometries and conditions, addressing challenges in numerical modeling of complex non-spherical granular flows. The outcome of this research in successfully integrating the developed model into the suite and simulating granular flow in different conditions and geometries, can be employed for further studies with practical significance for industries dealing with granular materials. It lays the groundwork for implementing a versatile FEA suite to simulate complex behaviors of granular materials. This foundation is viable for further studies addressing potential issues related to grain flow in hoppers, aiming to optimize industrial processes and improve material handling and storage techniques.



Granular flow, Non-spherical grains, Orientation, Material handling, Finite Element Analysis implementation, Hopper