A proposal for discrete modeling of mechanical effects during drying, combining pore networks with DEM



A discrete modeling approach is introduced to investigate the influence of liquid phase distributions on damage and deformation of particle aggregates during convective drying. The approach is illustrated on a simple 3D aggregate structure, in which monosized spherical particles are arranged in a cubic packing and bonded together at their contacts; the mechanical behavior of this aggregate is simulated by discrete element method (DEM). Liquid phase distributions in the void space are obtained from drying simulations for a pore network. In a one-way coupling approach, capillary forces are computed over time from the filling state of pores and applied as loads on each particle in DEM. A nonlinear bond model is used to compute interparticular forces. Simulations are conducted for various drying conditions and for aggregates with different mechanical properties. Microcracks induced by bond breakage are observed in stiff material, whereas soft material tends to shrink reversibly without damage. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011