A discrete element study of the effect of particle shape on packing density of fine and cohesive powders.
journal contributionposted on 17.03.2020, 14:50 by Iosif Sinka, Hasan Elmsahli
Fine and cohesive powders typically exhibit low packing density, with solid volume fraction around 0.3. Discrete element modelling (DEM) of particulate materials and processes typically employs spherical particles which have much larger solid fractions (e.g. 0.64 for dense random packing of frictionless spheres). In this work a range of quasi-spherical particles are designed, represented by a number of small satellites connected rigidly to a larger centre sphere. Using DEM, packing density is found to be controlled by the interplay between particle shape, size and inter-particle cohesion and friction. Low packing density is obtained for an appropriate combination of (1) particle shape that allows the creation of geometrically loose structures via separation of the central particles by the satellites, (2) particle size that should be sufficiently small so that adhesive forces between particles become dominant over gravity, (3) adhesive forces, determined from surface energy, should be sufficiently large, and (4) friction (static friction was found to have a dominant role compared to rolling friction, but negligible compared to adhesive forces for small particle size). By using the proposed quasi-spherical particle designs it becomes possible to calibrate more realistic DEM models for particulate processes that reproduces not only packing, but also other behaviours of bulk powders.