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Title: Using Arbitrary Triangulated Shapes in DEM Simulations. Contact models and applications
Authors: Vanmaercke, Simon
Smeets, Bart
Odenthal, Tim
Keresztes, Janos
Ramon, Herman #
Issue Date: 28-Sep-2015
Conference: International Conference on Particle-based Methods edition:4 location:Barcelona date:28-30 September 2015
Abstract: Many applications of the Discrete Element Method (DEM) require a grain description which
accounts for irregular, arbitrarily shaped particles in order to obtain accurate simulation results.
Contrary to the Finite Element Method, where triangulations are commonly used, it is not
straightforward to use a triangulated representation of grains in DEM.
Two contact models are presented that allow accurate contact force prediction between two
triangulated shapes. The first model [1] assumes that the grain has a rounded shape, and calculates
forces based on the Hertz contact pressure by fitting a sphere through every triangle. This allows for
realistic simulations using only physical parameters such as Young's moduli of the materials.
The requirement of a rounded shape is often not acceptable, since many common objects are sharp
angled (e.g. tetrahedra). The second presented contact model [2] does not impose this restriction and
integrates a contact pressure over the contact area of both triangles.
By triangulating the fruit, local contact pressures per triangle can be calculated and using an
appropriate damage model, the expected damage from a given contact predicted. Using this
methodology, damage on fruit can be integrated during a transport chain and potential measures to
lower this damage can be evaluated.

[1] B. Smeets Bart, T. Odenthal, J. Keresztes, S. Vanmaercke, P. Van Liedekerke, E. Tijskens, W.
Saeys, H. Van Oosterwyck, H. Ramon, “Modeling contact interactions between triangulated
rounded bodies for the discrete element method”, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and
Engineering, Volume: 277, Pages: 219-238 (2014)
[2] B. Smeets , T. Odenthal, S. Vanmaercke, H. Ramon, “Polygon-based contact description for
modeling arbitrary shapes in the Discrete Element Method”, Computer Methods in Applied
Mechanics and Engineering (submitted) (2015)
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Non-KU Leuven Association publications
# (joint) last author

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