Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Publications

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

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Transactions of the ASABE





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Research Focus Area(s)

Advanced Machinery Engineering and Manufacturing Systems




Screw augers are primary grain conveying equipment in the agriculture industry. Quantitative prediction of grain conveyance using screw augers requires better understanding and measurement of bulk particle-particle and particlerigid- body interactions. Discrete element modeling (DEM) has potential to simulate particle dynamics and flow within a screw auger and thus provide simulation-based guidance for auger design and operating parameters. The objective of this study was to develop a DEM corn model calibration methodology and validation for combine-harvested corn flow in a commercial screw auger. The methodology used a virtual design of experiment (DOE) varying DEM corn parameters and calibration to match grain pile formation expressed in a normalized angle of repose (AOR). DEM corn particle shape was approximated using 1-sphere and clumped spheres (2-sphere, 5-sphere, and 13-sphere) matching the measured physical parameters of equivalent geometrical diameter, 2D axial dimensions, 3D axial dimensions, and detailed CAD-approximated corn dimensions, respectively. For each DEM corn shape approximation, a virtual DOE using Latin square hypercube design with four independent DEM Hertz-Mindlin contact model interaction coefficients was developed. The DEM assembly of particles matching the initial conditions of the AOR test was created in EDEM 2.7. From the quasi-static AOR of corn flow in the AOR tests and EDEM simulations, the mean square error (MSE), a sum of square difference in grain heights in the AOR tests and EDEM simulations, was used as a bulk material dependent response for the calibration process. The DEM 2-sphere corn shape model and the material interaction coefficients showed the minimum MSE (5.31 mm) compared to the 1-sphere, 5-sphere, and 13-sphere models. With the best DEM corn shape model (2-sphere) and DEM model parameters with the minimum MSE, validation of the DEM in predicting corn flow in a commercial screw auger in laboratory tests at two rotational speeds (250 and 450 rpm) was performed and showed good prediction (within 5% relative error) in matching the change in mass flow rate with the change in auger rotational speed.


This article is published as Mousaviraad, Mohammad, Mehari Z. Tekeste, and Kurt A. Rosentrater. "Calibration and Validation of a Discrete Element Model of Corn Using Grain Flow Simulation in a Commercial Screw Grain Auger." Transactions of the ASABE 60, no. 4 (2017): 1403. DOI: 10.13031/trans.12200. Posted with permission.

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American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers



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