Research Papers

A Convex Complementarity Approach for Simulating Large Granular Flows

[+] Author and Article Information
Alessandro Tasora1

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale, Università degli Studi di Parma, 43100 Parma, Italytasora@ied.unipr.it

Mihai Anitescu

Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, IL 60439anitescu@mcs.anl.gov

The simulation is limited by RAM constraints on 32 bit systems. In fact, we simulated also a reactor with 400,000 spheres, using a GPU-based parallel version of the solver on a 64 bit system, but results are not discussed here.

From repeated tests we noticed that the height of the stacks can differ up to 10% if the simulated and experimental filling process are quite different.


Corresponding author.

J. Comput. Nonlinear Dynam 5(3), 031004 (May 14, 2010) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001371 History: Received March 19, 2009; Revised October 05, 2009; Published May 14, 2010; Online May 14, 2010

Aiming at the simulation of dense granular flows, we propose and test a numerical method based on successive convex complementarity problems. This approach originates from a multibody description of the granular flow: all the particles are simulated as rigid bodies with arbitrary shapes and frictional contacts. Unlike the discrete element method (DEM), the proposed approach does not require small integration time steps typical of stiff particle interaction; this fact, together with the development of optimized algorithms that can run also on parallel computing architectures, allows an efficient application of the proposed methodology to granular flows with a large number of particles. We present an application to the analysis of the refueling flow in pebble-bed nuclear reactors. Extensive validation of our method against both DEM and physical experiments results indicates that essential collective characteristics of dense granular flow are accurately predicted.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematic representation of the pebble-bed reactor

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Figure 2

The experimental testbeds: the half reactor and the flat hopper

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Figure 3

Snapshot from one of the experiments of flow through the PBR half reactor model, with the 60 deg funnel case

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Figure 4

Simulation of the 2D hopper model

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Figure 5

Simulation of the granular flow in the PBR nuclear reactor (half reactor model, 165,000 pebbles)

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Figure 6

Comparison between experimental flow (half left of figures) and simulated flow (half right of figures) in the hopper, at time t=0 s, t=0.6 s, and t=1.2 s

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Figure 7

Comparison between numerical and experimental speed profiles in the flat hopper, at t=1 s

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Figure 8

Speed profiles at different heights in the PBR reactor vessel

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Figure 9

Reactor flow speed

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Figure 10

Vertical speeds near the outlet of the reactor

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Figure 11

Contacts near the orifice of the 2D hopper, during steady flow

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Figure 12

Porosity in the reactor: comparison with the DEM method

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Figure 13

Maximum violations in contact constraints at different heights in the hopper, for different time steps




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