Axisymmetric granular flow on a bounded conical heap: Kinematics and size segregation

Austin B. Isner, Paul B. Umbanhowar, Julio M. Ottino, Richard M. Lueptow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Free surface flows of granular materials in bounded axisymmetric geometries such as a cylindrical silo are poorly understood. In particular, a detailed description of the local three-dimensional velocity field and predictive models for segregation are lacking. Here, the details of the kinematics of flow in a rising conical heap formed by a centrally fed mixture of spherical particles are investigated using Discrete Element Method (DEM) simulations in a wedge-shaped geometry with periodic azimuthal boundaries. The dependence of the streamwise and surface normal velocity components on the inlet flow rate and silo radius for size-bidisperse and monodisperse mixtures of glass spheres is characterized. Compared to a wedge with frictional sidewalls, the flowing layer is much thicker on average in the axisymmetric case. Using the scalings for kinematics obtained from the DEM simulations, a modified continuum advection-diffusion-segregation model accurately predicts steady-state segregation for axisymmetric conical heap flows of size-bidisperse mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115505
JournalChemical Engineering Science
StatePublished - May 18 2020


  • Conical heap
  • Discrete element method
  • Granular materials
  • Kinematics
  • Segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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