Discrete Element Modeling screw

Discrete Element Modeling


DEM (Discrete Element Method) Overview

DEM is a numerical technique that models the interaction between individual particles and boundaries to predict bulk solids behavior.  This tool can easily model moving boundaries and is used to gain better understanding of particle flow dynamics.  The knowledge is then applied to design more efficient equipment, thus improving process efficiency and product quality.

DEM is used to predict:

  • Bulk material flow patterns
  • Bulk material flow rates
  • Force, torque, and power consumption of equipment
  • Impact forces on particles and boundary surface
  • Wear patterns on boundary surface
  • Velocity profiles and dead zones
  • Particle distribution in segregation and blending

DEM Technology

Your process is modeled by our engineers with our in-house developed proprietary code that has been extensively used to solve many handling problems around the world in industries including mining, chemical, agriculture, food processing, pharmaceutical, and power.  These project examples below are proof that our DEM capabilities are a dependable tool to quickly develop the right solutions for your material handling process.

Jenike & Johanson has a passion for particles.  We know that though spheres are computationally attractive, they in many cases will not provide accurate or representative DEM modeling respects.  Look at the simulation below, illustrating the behavior of a sphere vs. clustered spheres vs. polyhedral particles.  Clearly the spheres and clusters do not mimic the true flow behavior of the shaped particles.


3D Particle Scanner

We can accurately model particle shape using our 3D particle scanner and our polyhedral algorithm in our code.  Computational speed does matter for efficient engineering, thus, using polyhedral algorithms with particles having extraneous facets is not beneficial to the DEM analysis because every facet must undergo tracking and calculations for acceleration, velocity, position, and impact, torque, sliding, etc.  We’ve optimized our DEM code to use polyhedral geometries that reflect you material processing so you get prediction results that can help engineer improvement to your bottom line.


DEM Analyses

We have experienced engineers who are knowledgeable and specialize in DEM practices to perform accurate analytical modeling.  We understand the importance of making sure the models are scaled geometrically and calibrated to measured bulk material flow properties.  Our laboratories can measure the relevant flow properties for DEM analyses, such as bulk density, cohesive strength, wall friction (coefficient of sliding friction; both dynamic and static), particle density and shape, and abrasive wear.

DEM planetary mixer

Particle Motion on Multiple Complexity Levels

Our DEM code has the ability to model motion on multiple levels of complexity and degrees of freedom.

As shown in the image, the motion is occurring at three separate, but interactive, levels:

  1. The screw (auger) is rotating the flights about its central shaft
  2. The screw is following a sweeping motion around the cone interior surface
  3. The screw shaft is pivoted from the cone’s center to the periphery

Using a highly effective and efficient DEM engineering tool, we are able to model the flow of your iron ore in a chute at 14000 tph, filling a dump truck with 100 tons of limestone, or loading odd-shaped candy into a small volume unit package. We have the tools and engineering knowledge to reduce risk and ensure your project’s success.

Jenike & Johanson engineer
Jenike & Johanson engineer

Do You Need an Engineer to Help You With Discrete Element Modeling?

Reach out to our experienced team of engineers who will provide consulting, testing and engineering services!

Meet Us at Bulk Material Engineering Events

Find out when and where we’ll be presenting our latest findings and trainings.