Discrete element modelling of a rotating drum and drum granulation

  • Daksha Bhimji

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis reports the results of DEM (Discrete Element Method) simulations of rotating drums operated in a number of different flow regimes. DEM simulations of drum granulation have also been conducted. The aim was to demonstrate that a realistic simulation is possible, and further understanding of the particle motion and granulation processes in a rotating drum. The simulation model has shown good qualitative and quantitative agreement with other published experimental results.
A two-dimensional bed of 5000 disc particles, with properties similar to glass has been simulated in the rolling mode (Froude number 0.0076) with a fractional drum fill of approximately 30%. Particle velocity fields in the cascading layer, bed cross-section, and at the drum wall have shown good agreement with experimental PEPT data. Particle avalanches in the cascading layer have been shown to be consistent with single layers of particles cascading down the free surface towards the drum wall. Particle slip at the drum wall has been shown to depend on angular position, and ranged from 20% at the toe and shoulder, to less than 1% at the mid-point.
Three-dimensional DEM simulations of a moderately cascading bed of 50,000 spherical elastic particles (Froude number 0.83) with a fractional fill of approximately 30% have also been performed. The drum axis was inclined by 50 to the horizontal with periodic boundaries at the ends of the drum. The mean period of bed circulation was found to be 0.28s. A liquid binder was added to the system using a spray model based on the concept of a wet surface energy. Granule formation and breakage processes have been demonstrated in the system.
Date of AwardOct 2009
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRoger J Kettle (Supervisor)


  • Discrete element method
  • rolling
  • cascading
  • rotary kiln
  • granule

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