Numerical analysis of contact electrification of non-spherical particles in a rotating drum

Chunlei Pei, Chuan-yu Wu, Michael Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


Contact electrification is generally referred to as the charge transfer process between particles during collisions. The transferred charge can be accumulated on the surface of the particles especially for insulating materials with irregular shapes, which can lead to a non-uniform charge distribution and eventually affects the charge accumulation process. In this study, in order to investigate the influence of the particle shape on contact electrification, a sphere-tree multi-sphere method and a contact electrification model are implemented into the discrete element method (DEM) to model the charging process of irregular particles in a rotating drum. Irregular particles with various Sauter mean diameters but the same maximum diameter and equivalent volume diameters are considered. The charge distribution and accumulation on the particles are investigated. It is found that the charge transfer originates from the contact between the particle and the drum due to the contact potential difference and initially takes place primarily at the region near the wall of the drum. The charge eventually propagates to the entire granular bed. The charge of the particles increases exponentially to an equilibrium value. For particles with the same maximum diameter, a larger charging coefficient is obtained for the particles with smaller Sauter mean diameters and sphericities, which leads to a faster charge accumulation, while for particles with the same equivalent volume diameter and fill ratio, similar charging coefficients are observed. A non-uniform intra-particle charge distribution is induced on each individual multi-sphere particle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-122
Number of pages13
JournalPowder Technology
Early online date14 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Contact electrification
  • Particle shape
  • Discrete element method
  • Charge distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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