Efficient discrete-element modelling of flexible elongated particles

Particulate materials are ubiquitous in nature and in industry (e.g. sand, sugar, corn, ore pellets) and are fundamental to many industrial fields (e.g. chemical/process, pharmaceutics, mining, civil, mechanical, agricultural). The Discrete Element Method (DEM) is increasingly used in industry and academia, to simulate such materials.

DEM models individual particles, usually considering them as spheres, yet this is often unrealistic, e.g. for elongated cylindrical particles (e.g. fibres, biomass or agricultural crops). Cylindrical particles can be either directly modelled as cylinders, or approximated by other shapes (multiple spheres, polyhedral, or superquadrics). Yet major questions exist on the viability of these competing methodologies for the practical modelling of industrial problems, especially for flexible particles. This project aims to determine and implement efficient methodologies for modelling cylindrical elongated particles for large-scale DEM simulations.

Emphasis will be placed in ensuring that the approximated particle-level mechanical behaviour can result in realistic bulk-scale material behaviour. In particular, the project will address validation and calibration, within a novel holistic approach to ensure the chosen approach is both computationally correct and usable in engineering practice. This is especially important for flexible elongated particles, where numerical modelling necessarily involves a much coarser approximation of real material behaviour.

Closing Date: 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Principal Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.

Candidates must have a good background in soil mechanics, granular physics, particle technology or computational mechanics.


Further information and other funding options.

 Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere

Informal Enquiries: