Granular Mechanics and Industrial Infrastructure

The Granular Mechanics and Industrial Infrastructure Group conducts fundamental research on the mechanics of granular materials and their interaction with industrial infrastructure, with broad applications in silo design, bulk solids handling, paste rheology, fluidisation and natural hazard mitigation.

The Research Group has diverse research expertise and themes studying granular materials from particle to full-industrial scales, from dry to multiphase systems; and has been developing novel discrete and continuum theories and numerical methods and experimental techniques to enable such research.

The long standing focus is to gain new scientific insights using a combination of simulation tools, extensive experimentation and analytical methods; and to transform these insights to support innovative engineering designs and solutions.

Their research has had a considerable impact, ranging from significant scientific discoveries, to development of design standards, to practical industrial applications.

The Group has been coordinating two EU FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network, PARDEM (pardem.eu) and T-MAPPP (t-mappp.eu), to promote major advancement of discrete element and multiscale methods applying to industrial granular processes; and participating in another EU FP7 research project, VELaSSCo (velassco.eu), to take advantage of the Big Data technologies for large-scale visualization of scientific simulations.

Research Projects

  1. Granular rheology of paste
  2. Nonlocal rheology of dense granular flows
  3. Modelling and flow behaviour of cohesive iron ore fines
  4. Blending silo of granules study – modelling and experiments
  5. Cohesive soil – machine interaction
  6. XCT particle breakage / milling
  7. DEM/CFD cohesive solid fluidisation
  8. Experimental study of cohesive fluidisation
  9. Pneumatic conveying: simulation and LDA measurements
  10. Modelling of wet granular processes involving liquid bridges
  11. Modelling and calibration of cohesive granular flows
  12. Predicting flow regimes in dense granular systems
  13. Multiphase flow with continuum upscaling
  14. Fines agglomeration and dispersion modelling
  15. Functional surface via electrical discharge methods
  16. Particle flow and selective laser sintering
  17. Silo vibration: quaking and honking
  18. Bonded DEM
  19. ALE modelling of silo discharging
  20. Modelling of fluid-particle flow in deep oil wells
  21. Measurement of fluid-particle flow in deep oil wells

Research Facilities

  • Edinburgh Powder Tester: a novel tester for evaluating handling characteristics of cohesive powders.
  • Servo-control triaxial testers for soil testing.
  • High capacity servo-control Instron tester for uniaxial compression tests and k0 tests.
  • Edinburgh Cohesion Testers for measuring strength of coals and lumpy solids.
  • Model silos from desktop to pilot scales with strain gauges and pressure transducers.
  • Model gas-solid fluidised beds
  • High-speed camera Photron SA6
Pilot Silo Facility
Pilot Silo Facility
Horizontal normal stresses during a silo discharge obtained using coarse-graining of DEM simulation data
Horizontal normal stresses during a silo discharge obtained using coarse-graining of DEM simulation data
Particle assemblages in DEM simulation of simple shear flow of dense granular materials
Particle assemblages in DEM simulation of simple shear flow of dense granular materials

Research Institutes: 

Research Themes: