What is Discrete Element Modeling?


Discrete Element Method, (DEM), is a set of modeling techniques and equations specifically used to solve problems in engineering and applied sciences that exhibit gross discontinuous mechanical behavior. DEM explicitly models the motion and mechanical interactions of each object in the physical problem throughout a given simulation and then provides a detailed description of the velocities, positions, and the forces acting on each object at different points in time during the analysis.

  • A DEM algorithm has the following steps:
    • Describing the physical boundaries.
    • Develop the dynamic equations used for determining the motion for each object.
    • Keep track of collisions with each object.
    • Use a contact force algorithm that uses Newton's third law to compute the forces acting on pairs of contacting objects.
    • Process in the computer at small steps.
    • Visualize results.

Thanks to DEM, designers can avoid problems such as plugging, belt and chute wear and abrasion, material degradation, and off center loading.

Bulk Flow Analystâ„¢ simplifies this process by providing a software solution that assists in all aspects of the process for using DEM as an engineering tool. Our own modeler and integration with popular modeling software and file formats allows physical boundaries to be easily defined. Our internal engine runs the DEM simulation keeping track of particle collisions and contact forces over time. Finally our post-processing software, DEMView and Particle Motion Analyst, take the data generated by our engine and help in the visualization process by creating videos and displaying specific information about particles in the system.