DEM (meso-)particle property calibration with powder rheometry and other flow characterization techniques

Saeed Mahdavy

Host Institutions

University of Salerno [ 4 months ]
University of Twente [ 20 months ]


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I am Saeed Mahdavy from Iran. I studied chemical engineering at Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic). I have a background in process simulation. I simulated a fluidized bed for my final bachelor project by using OpenFOAM. My master thesis was a joint project between Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic) and Technical University of Vienna (TU WIEN). I measured residence time distribution of non-spherical particles in a continuous rotary cylinder and used an in-house DEM code for the simulation of experiments. Then, I studied the pyrolysis process in a continuous rotary kiln and solved a model for it. Throughout my study and research, I had been a researcher in the Center of Engineering and Multiscale Modeling of Fluid Flow (CEMF) at Amirkabir University of Technology, as well as the thermal process engineering-computational fluid dynamics at Technical University of Vienna.

Now, I am an EngD (PDEng) student at the University of Twente in collaboration with the University of Salerno and the mercuryDPM. My purpose of this project is to reach a profound understanding of powder flow in a rheometer via experiments and DEM simulation. Indeed, a major part of my current research will be calibration of DEM parameters for real industrial applications.

Project Description

This predominantly experimental project aims to determine a protocol to calibrate parameters for DEM models using both primary and (coarser) meso-particles, with a focus on mono- and bi-component powders (e.g., powders with flow enhancers).

Specific objectives are:
  1. Conduct powder rheometer tests to selectively explore the relevance of different material and particle properties; the strategy will be to minimize the number of parameters that have to be optimized in each condition to match the model with the experiments;
  2. Perform sensitivity analysis for model parameters in mono- and bi-component powders at different rotational regimes;
  3. Extend material characterization experiments to include uniaxial compaction, shear testing at high temperature or humidity and vibration;
  4. Up-scaled DEM modelling (meso-particles) of the experiments to establish parameter sensitivity and develop calibration protocols.
Expected Results:
  1. Defined protocols to calibrate DEM parameters;
  2. Tailored calibration procedure according to specific composition of the powder (mono or bi-component);
  3. Tailored calibration procedure to relate the model chosen to flow regimes and devices.