A Coupled DEM/CFD Analysis of the Effect of Air on Powder Flow During Die Filling

Y Guo, KD Kafui, Chuan-yu Wu, C Thornton, JPK Seville

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68 Citations (Scopus)


Die filling from a stationary shoe in a vacuum and in the presence of air was numerically, analyzed using an Eulerian-Lagrangian model, which employs a discrete element method (DEM) for the particles and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for the air with a two-way air-particle interaction coupling term. Monodisperse and polydisperse powder systems have been simulated to explore the effect of the presence of air on the die filling process. For die filling with monodisperse powders, the influences of particle size and density on the flow behavior were explored. The numerical simulations revealed that the presence of air has a significant impact on the powder flow behavior, especially for systems with smaller and/or lighter particles. Flow has been characterized in terms of a dimensionless mass flow rate, and it has been shown that for die filling in a vacuum this is constant. The flow characteristics for die filling in air can be classified into two regimes. There is an air-inert regime in which the particle size and density are sufficiently large that the effect of air flow becomes negligible, and the dimensionless mass flow rate is essentially identical to that obtained for die filling in a vacuum. There is also an air-sensitive regime, for smaller particle sizes and lower particle densities, in which the dimensionless mass flow rate increases as the particle size and density increase. The effects of particle-size distribution and adhesion on the flow behavior have also been investigated. It was found that, in a vacuum, the dimensionless mass flow, rate for polydisperse systems is nearly identical to that for monodisperse systems. In the presence of air, a lower dimensionless mass flow rate is obtained for polydisperse systems compared to monodisperse systems, demonstrating that air effects become more significant. Furthermore, it has been shown that, as expected, the dimensionless mass flow rate decreases as the surface energy increases (i.e., for more cohesive powders). (C) 2008 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 55: 49-62, 2009
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-62
Number of pages14
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • die filling
  • adhesion
  • air effect
  • powder compaction
  • DEM
  • CFD
  • mass flow rate


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