An effective sphere-based model for breakage simulation in DEM

Luís Marcelo Tavares*, Victor A. Rodriguez, Marina Sousani, Carles Bosch Padros, Jin Y. Ooi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Breakage occurs in several particulate systems that are simulated using the discrete element method (DEM), namely crushing and grinding as well as inadvertently in several others that include transportation, handling, mixing, separation and geotechnical applications.Different approaches may be used to describe particle breakage using DEM, but in cases in which particle breakage influences significantly the flow behaviour of the material, imbedding the breakage description in DEM provides the only valid alternative. This study describes the implementation of a detailed breakage model based on particle replacement with spheres in the commercial software EDEM. It accounts for variability and size-dependency in particle fracture energies,weakening of particles by unsuccessful stressing events, aswell as addressing several reported shortcomings in sphere replacement schemes. The model is verified in great detail on the basis of single-particle breakage information and validated using measurements in unconfined particle beds of mineral ores.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473–488
Number of pages16
JournalPowder Technology
Early online date15 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Comminution
  • Degradation
  • Discrete element method
  • Monte Carlo
  • Particle breakage
  • Particle replacement
  • Particle weakening
  • Simulation


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