• rotating tumbler;
  • mixing;
  • granular particle;
  • thermal conduction;
  • discrete element method;
  • information entropy

A discrete element method (DEM) study is conducted to investigate the mixing and heat-transfer characteristics of steel spherical particles under various rotation speeds and flow regimes of a rotating tumbler. The mixing degree, weighted temperature, temperature discrepancy at the mixing interface, temperature radial distribution, and information entropy are used to analyze the effect of mixing structure and evolution duration on the heat-transfer characteristics. The results under the same revolution and the same evolution time are compared to show the effects of evolution time and mixing structure on thermal conduction. After a detailed analysis, the joint contribution of mixing degree and duration to granular heat transfer is explained, and the different approaches in static thermal conduction and dynamic mixing are shown. Moreover, a new method is proposed using the mean increase rate of temperature information entropy to determine the most effective operating condition for thermal conduction in granular particles. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 1906–1918, 2013