Numerical study on the effect of particle shape on mixers

Nicolin Govender, Daniel N. Wilke, Raj K. Rajamani, Patrick Pizette, Johannes Khinast, Benjamin J. Glasser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


Homogenization of particulate systems is a critical part in the processing of particulate materials to achieve consistency and ensure product quality. Homogenization is achieved by mixing, the aim is to obtain a final mixture that is homogeneous when mixing individual particulate constituents, in the sense of a uniform spatial mass distribution. Although there is always some measure of heterogeneity in a mixture this can be quantified by Gys sampling theory. This is critical for pharmaceutical industries in which it is essential that the variance of the active ingredients between tablets are within specified bounds. Although there have been numerous numerical studies on mixing using the Discrete Element Method (DEM), most studies to date have incorporated significant simplifications to reduce the computational time such as using mono-disperse size distributions, scaling up of particle size and spherical estimations of shape. The development of GPU based DEM simulations in the past few years significantly increased the number of spherical particles however most often at the expense of simplifying the physical interaction between particles. This oversimplification of particle shape has much wider primary implications as primary contact mechanisms such as angularity and locking are omitted. This is important in the pharmaceutical industry where the feed powders are often made from crystalline solids in which the shape of the individual particles are polyhedral. As this study demonstrates, this is significant in that the underlining dynamics of polyhedral particles is vastly different to that of spherical particles, resulting in tighter packing fractions different flow patterns, and percolation. In this paper we use the GPU based DEM code BlazeDEM3D-GPU to study and quantify the effect of particle shape in a high shear blade mixer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication5th International Conference on Particle-Based Methods - Fundamentals and Applications, PARTICLES 2017
PublisherInternational Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE)
Pages172 - 182
ISBN (Electronic)978-849469097-6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event5th International Conference on Particle-Based Methods - Fundamentals and Applications: PARTICLES 2017 - Hannover, Germany
Duration: 26 Sept 201728 Sept 2017


Conference5th International Conference on Particle-Based Methods - Fundamentals and Applications


  • DEM
  • Graphical Processing Unit
  • Interactive Design
  • Interactive Simulation
  • Tumbling Mill
  • Numerical Multi-Fidelity Models

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