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Applications of Discrete Element Method in Modeling of Grain Postharvest Operations
Food Engineering Reviews (2014)
  • Josephine M. Boac, Kansas State University
  • R. P. Kingsly Ambrose, Kansas State University
  • Mark E. Casada, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Ronaldo G. Maghirang, Kansas State University
  • Dirk E. Maier, Kansas State University
Grain kernels are finite and discrete materials. Although flowing grain can behave like a continuum fluid at times, the discontinuous behavior exhibited by grain kernels cannot be simulated solely with conventional continuum-based computer modeling such as finite-element or finite-difference methods. The discrete element method (DEM) is a proven numerical method that can model discrete particles like grain kernels by tracking the motion of individual particles. DEM has been used extensively in the field of rock mechanics. Its application is gaining popularity in grain postharvest operations, but it has not been applied widely. This paper reviews existing applications of DEM in grain postharvest operations. Published literature that uses DEM to simulate postharvest processing is reviewed, as are applications in handling and processing of grain such as soybean, corn, wheat, rice, rapeseed, and the grain coproduct distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Simulations of grain drying that involve particles in both free-flowing and confined-flow conditions are also included. Review of the existing literature indicates that DEM is a promising approach in the study of the behavior of deformable soft particulates such as grain and coproducts, and it could benefit from the development of improved particle models for these complex-shaped particles.
  • Discrete element method,
  • Grain handling,
  • Grain processing,
  • Free-flowing grain,
  • Confined grain
Publication Date
December, 2014
Publisher Statement
Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.
Citation Information
Josephine M. Boac, R. P. Kingsly Ambrose, Mark E. Casada, Ronaldo G. Maghirang, et al.. "Applications of Discrete Element Method in Modeling of Grain Postharvest Operations" Food Engineering Reviews Vol. 6 Iss. 4 (2014) p. 128 - 149
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