Determination of the constriction size distribution of granular filters by filtration tests


Correspondence to: Eric Vincens, Université de Lyon, LTDS, Ecole Centrale de Lyon, UMR CNRS 5513, 36 Avenue Guy de Collongue, 69134 Ecully Cedex, France.



This paper presents the calibration of an experiment based on filtration tests, able to provide the cumulative constriction size distribution of granular materials. Here, simulations of these tests are performed using a discrete element method. Filters of same density but different thicknesses are created with a poly-sized spherical material. Lateral periodic boundaries for the samples are used, and their size is calibrated so that a representative elementary volume is obtained. Fine particles are released on the created samples, and the particle size distribution of the collected material that successfully crossed the filters is computed. These particle size distributions are related to the underlying cumulative constriction size distribution (CSD) of the granular material involved in the samples. The CSD is derived using a probabilistic approach for the path length of individual particles through a granular material. We settle all the requisites related to the technique and to the fine particles that are released to allow reaching a correct CSD for the filter. The reference CSD used for the calibration of the experiment is obtained after a radical partition of the void space into Delaunay tetrahedra and a geometrical characterisation of constrictions on each tetrahedron face. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.