Bulk Material Flow in a Paddle Mixer

The Discrete Element Method - DEM - is a numerical method for simulation of the motion of a large number of particles.  These particles can vary in size from micron scale to large scale such as rocks or other bulk materials.  The technique takes into account forces due to friction, contact (including plasticity and rebound effects), gravity, cohesion, adhesion, electrostatics, and at the atomic level van der Waals forces and Pauli repulsion forces.

The DEM techniques allow a wide range of applications to be studied in many industries inculding:

  • Food Processing
  • Mining & Minerals Processing
  • Agriculture Machinery
  • Construction Equipment
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
  • Oil and Gas
  • Civil Engineering
  • Other industries dealing with particulate flow design issues

One example of a bulk material flow problem is shown below where a defined amount of product is introduced into a paddle mixer.  As the material pours in the paddles begin to mix and propel the product along the chute.  Areas where the product is not mixing are evident as well showing that this paticular configuration may not produce the desired mixing and flow characteristics.

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