CFD – DEM Modeling and Parallel Implementation of Three Dimensional Non- Spherical Particulate Systems
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Particulate systems in practical applications such as biomass combustion, blood cellular systems and granular particles in fluidized beds, have often been computationally represented using spherical surfaces, even though the majority of particles in archetypal fluid-solid systems are non-spherical. While spherical particles are more cost-effective to simulate, notable deficiencies of these implementations are their substantial inaccuracies in predicting the dynamics of particle mixtures. Alternatively, modeling dense fluid-particulate systems using non-spherical particles involves increased complexity, with computational cost manifesting as the biggest bottleneck. However, with recent advancements in computer hardware, simulations of three-dimensional particulate systems using irregular shaped particles have garnered significant interest. In this research, a novel Discrete Element Method (DEM) model that incorporates geometry definition, collision detection, and post-collision kinematics has been developed to accurately simulate non-spherical particulate systems. Superellipsoids, which account for 80% of particles commonly found in nature, are used to represent non-spherical shapes. Collisions between these particles are processed using a distance function computation carried out with respect to their surfaces. An event - driven model and a time-driven model have been employed in the current framework to resolve collisions. The collision model's influence on non–spherical particle dynamics is verified by observing the conservation of momentum and total kinetic energy. Furthermore, the non-spherical DEM model is coupled with an in-house fluid flow solver (GenIDLEST). The combined CFD-DEM model's results are validated by comparing to experimental measurements in a fluidized bed. The parallel scalability of the non-spherical DEM model is evaluated in terms of its efficiency and speedup. Major factors affecting wall clock time of simulations are analyzed and an estimate of the model's dependency on these factors is documented. The developed framework allows for a wide range of particle geometries to be simulated in GenIDLEST.
General Audience Abstract
CFD – DEM (Discrete Element Method) is a technique of coupling fluid flow solvers with granular solid particles. CFD – DEM simulations are beneficial in recreating pragmatic applications such as blood cellular flows, fluidized beds and pharmaceutics. Up until recently, particles in these flows have been modeled as spheres as the generation of particle geometry and collision detection algorithms are straightforward. However, in real – life occurrences, most particles are irregular in shape, and approximating them as spheres in computational works leads to a substantial loss of accuracy. On the other hand, non – spherical particles are more complex to generate. When these particles are in motion, they collide and exhibit complex trajectories. Majority of the wall clock time is spent in resolving collisions between these non – spherical particles. Hence, generic algorithms to detect and resolve collisions have to be incorporated. This primary focus of this research work is to develop collision detection and resolution algorithms for non – spherical particles. Collisions are detected using inherent geometrical properties of the class of particles used. Two popular models (event-driven and time-driven) are implemented and utilized to update the trajectories of particles. These models are coupled with an in – house fluid solver (GenIDLEST) and the functioning of the DEM model is validated with experimental results from previous research works. Also, since the computational effort required is higher in the case of non – spherical particulate simulations, an estimate of the scalability of the problem and factors influencing time to simulations are presented.
- Masters Theses