Linking of discrete element modelling with finite element analysis for analysing structures in contact with particulate solid

Y. C. Chung, J. Y. Ooi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper proposes a methodology to link the discrete element method (DEM) with the finite element analysis (FEA) to evaluate the loading of particulate solid on a contacting structure or machine. The mathematical formulation to convert the DEM boundary contact forces to the nodal forces and moments in triangular finite elements was derived based on the concept of shape function. To prove the feasibility of this proposed methodology, two numerical examples, confined compression and confined expansion of steel beads filled in a cylindrical container, were analysed. The DEM calculations for discrete steel beads were performed using the PFC3D code. The outputs from the DEM simulations were extracted and processed into ABAQUS FEA input decks by the proposed method. A finite element analysis was executed to calculate the stress distribution in the continuum steel cylinder for the two examples using a linear shell analysis. The DEM and FEA results were presented and discussed in this paper. The results show that the proposed methodology can provide an effective way to determine the stress distribution in contacting structures subjected to loading from particulate assemblies and can be applied to solve solid-structure interaction problems. The proposed methodology is not applicable to the cases where wall friction is significant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalPowder Technology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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