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Discrete Element Modeling of Wedge Hopper Discharge of Milled Loblolly Pine

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2022 ASABE Annual International Meeting  2201165.(doi:10.13031/aim.202201165)
Authors:   Qiushi Chen, Feiyang Chen, Yidong Xia
Keywords:   Discrete element method, biomass feedstocks, hopper flow, loblolly pine.

Abstract. Discrete element method (DEM)-based particulate flow simulations of wedge hopper discharge of milled loblolly pine are performed using an experiment-validated nonlinear hysteretic interparticle contact model. The DEM simulation-based study enables detailed and quantitative analyses of the hopper flow and clogging behavior based on fundamental particle physics. Wide ranges of critical processing parameters (CPPs) (of the hopper) and the critical material attributes (CMAs) (of the milled loblolly pine) are considered in the analysis. Among various CPPs, hopper opening width and semi-inclination angle are the two key parameters that significantly influence the critical quality attributes (CQAs) of the hopper (i.e., discharge rate and continuity). The critical arching distance as a function of semi-inclination is predicated by DEM and compares well with experimental data and finite element method-based predictions. DEM results also show the interparticle motion resistance (a CMA) and the packing height (a CPP) have a strong influence on the critical arching distance. Findings from this work have practical implications for engineers to design and operate equipment involving biomass particle flow in biorefineries.

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