Mixing Mechanics: Is computer modeling robust enough to replace mixing system design tests?
There's a lot of talk these days about using computer modeling to streamline process design. Computer modeling is well-established and robust for liquid systems, but it's not quite as well-established for solids processes.
The latest computer modeling methods for particles use discrete element modeling (DEM) techniques. DEM is a numerical technique using basic momentum physics equations to determine one particle's motion in relation other particles in a system. Imagine a two-particle system where two spherical particles travel toward each other and one hits the other. The collision transforms into an elastic rebound, and a new speed and new direction can be calculated for both particles. Now multiply the same action for 100,000 particles and have a computer tracking the velocity and direction of each particle. That's how solids behavior can be modeled. DEM software provides very colorful videos showing all of these collisions and motions, making it easy to see how a process operates under specific conditions.