Explicit Finite Element Modeling (FEM) of Granular Flows

Granular flows have been studied in Tribology due to their ability to carry loads and/or accommodate sliding surface velocities. Outside of the discrete element method (DEM), which is considered the gold standard in discrete floe modeling, and Cellular Automata (CA), a high-speed alternative, another new modeling approach that holds promise in simulating the behavior of particulate materials is the explicit finite-element method (FEM). The explicit FEM is a computational modeling approach capable of capturing dynamic, transient events, such as collisions and particle-particle interactions of grains in granular flows. The explicit FEM approach allows for the calculation of interparticle stresses and prediction of force chain development. This work looks to develop explicit FEM simulations of dense granular shear flows, validate against GSC experiments, and apply the method to additional granular flow problems.
FEM granular flows
PFTL Research Assistant(s):   Deepak C. Patil; Gautham Nagaraju
Method(s) Employed:   Explicit Finite Element Method (FEM) Modeling
Rig(s) and/or Software(s) Employed:   ANSYS, LS-DYNA
Sponsor(s):   NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Sample Results:

velocity solid fraction


Select PFTL References:

Kabir, A., Higgs III, C.F., Lovell, M., Jasti, V.J., Marinack Jr., M.C., 2009, "Explicit Finite Element Simulation of Granular Flow in an Annular Shear Cell," Proceedings of the ASME/STLE International Joint Tribology Conference 2009, Memphis, TN.

Kabir, M.A., Jasti, V.K., Higgs III, C.F., Lovell, M.R., 2008, "An evaluation of the explicit finite-element method approach for modelling dense flows of discrete grains in a Couette shear cell", Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology, 222(6): pp. 715-723.

Kabir, M.A., Lovell, M.R., Higgs III, C.F., 2008, "Utilizing the Explicit Finite Element Method for Studying Granular Flows", Tribology Letters, 29(2): p. 85-94.