Project title: A Multiscale Approach to Understanding Cohesive Particle Flows

Supervisors: Daniele Dini, Berend van Wachem

Project description:

Granular systems are of great importance in many fields, ranging from science and technology to industrial applications. Interactions between individual grains are influenced by their mechanical and chemical properties, as well as their geometries and relative motion. The presence of a fluid phase further complicates matters, especially in the regime where the particle phase significantly influences the fluid motion. 
Systems of particles which experience cohesive interactions are the focus of this project. Cohesion plays a major role in a number of applications, e.g. the dispersion of the active component in a dry powder inhaler, or the formation of bridges in a hopper. By performing detailed simulations of collisions between two grains, it will be possible to develop accurate cohesive contact models for use in an existing Discrete Element Model code. Initially the focus will be on Van der Waals forces between smooth elastic spheres, before shifting to more realistic systems, e.g. particles with rough surfaces and other cohesion mechanisms. This will allow the modeling of cohesive granular flows to a greater accuracy than yet has been achieved.