Computer simulation of moist agglomerate collisions
This thesis considers the computer simulation of moist agglomerate collisions using the discrete element method (DEM). The study is confined to pendular state moist agglomerates, at which liquid is presented as either absorbed immobile films or pendular liquid bridges and the interparticle force is modelled as the adhesive contact force and interstitial liquid bridge force. Algorithms used to model the contact force due to surface adhesion, tangential friction and particle deformation have been derived by other researchers and are briefly described in the thesis. A theoretical study of the pendular liquid bridge force between spherical particles has been made and the algorithms for the modelling of the pendular liquid bridge force between spherical particles have been developed and incorporated into the Aston version of the DEM program TRUBAL. It has been found that, for static liquid bridges, the more explicit criterion for specifying the stable solution and critical separation is provided by the total free energy. The critical separation is given by the cube root of liquid bridge volume to a good approximation and the 'gorge method' of evaluation based on the toroidal approximation leads to errors in the calculated force of less than 10%. Three dimensional computer simulations of an agglomerate impacting orthogonally with a wall are reported. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of adding viscous binder to prevent attrition, a common practice in process engineering. Results of simulated agglomerate-agglomerate collisions show that, for colinear agglomerate impacts, there is an optimum velocity which results in a near spherical shape of the coalesced agglomerate and, hence, minimises attrition due to subsequent collisions. The relationship between the optimum impact velocity and the liquid viscosity and surface tension is illustrated. The effect of varying the angle of impact on the coalescence/attrition behaviour is also reported. (DX 187, 340).