Evaluation of particle models of corn kernels for discrete element method simulation of shelled corn mass flow

J. M. Boac, M. E. Casada, L. O. Pordesimo, M. C. Petingco, R. G. Maghirang, J. P. Harner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bulk handling behavior of grains can be studied experimentally, but large-scale investigations of grain flow especially at the commercial scale are expensive, time consuming, and are therefore limited in the treatment factors that can be evaluated in any one study. Recent research has demonstrated the potential of discrete element method (DEM) in simulating grain flow in handling operations. However, application of DEM for simulating grain flow, requires development of appropriate particle models for each grain type. In this study, particle models comprised of one to four overlapping spheres were developed for shelled corn and tested. With these models, measurement of bulk properties, namely bulk density and angle of repose, both involving bulk flow were simulated using EDEM™ software with published data of material and interaction properties of shelled corn as inputs associated with each particle shape. Predicted time for the complete outflow from the bulk density test hopper (hopper emptying time), designated as simulation time in the study, was also recorded as another discriminant for model selection. Variable inputs into the simulation modeling were material properties particle shape, particle size distribution, Poisson's ratio, shear modulus, and density and interaction properties particle coefficients of restitution, static friction, and rolling friction. Computation time is critical in DEM modeling so single sphere particle models were emphasized over multi-sphere particles in the research even though multi-sphere particles represent the corn kernel shape more precisely because their simplicity can provide markedly reduced computation times to complete simulations. Predicted results for hopper emptying time, bulk density, and angle of repose were compared to experimental results or published data to select the most appropriate particle models for simulating bulk behavior of corn kernels in free-flowing grain applications using DEM. From the study, the most appropriate particle model (particle shape/physical properties combination) for corn kernels involved a single-sphere shape particle shape with a particle coefficient of restitution of 0.30, particle coefficients of static friction of 0.30 for corn-corn contact and 0.20 for corn-steel contact, particle coefficient of rolling friction of 0.05, normal particle size distribution with a standard deviation factor of 0.4, and particle shear modulus of 20 MPa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100197
JournalSmart Agricultural Technology
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Angle of repose
  • Bulk density
  • Bulk material flow
  • DEM
  • Discrete element method
  • Particle model
  • Shelled corn
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of particle models of corn kernels for discrete element method simulation of shelled corn mass flow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this