M. C. Petingco, M. E. Casada, R. G. Maghirang, O. O. Fasina, Z. Chen, R. P.K. Ambrose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The discrete element method (DEM) has been shown to be an effective tool for simulating the behavior of granular material. The accuracy of simulations depends highly on the contact models, particle physical parameters, and contact parameters used. The objectives of this study were to determine the influence of particle shape and contact parameters on simulated wheat bulk density and to develop an effective wheat particle model for DEM simulation of filling a container using EDEM software. Grain characteristics, including single-kernel weight, kernel density, kernel dimensions, aspect ratio, and bulk density, were determined for three size fractions of wheat used in the experiments. Three categories of particle models (5-sphere pseudo-ellipsoidal, 7-sphere pseudo-ellipsoidal, and ASG-generated) with varying aspect ratios and geometrical smoothness were tested in the simulations. Results showed that DEM-simulated bulk density of wheat increased with lower aspect ratio and greater geometrical smoothness of pseudo-ellipsoidal particles (7-sphere versus 5-sphere). Increasing the number of spheres to approximately 30 for better representation of wheat kernel shape, using ASG-generated particles, did not reproduce the trend of greater simulated bulk density seen in the experiments. Among the six contact parameters, the wheat-wheat coefficient of static friction and wheat-surface coefficient of rolling friction had the most significant effect on the simulated bulk density. Among the different sets of particle models, the 5-sphere pseudo-ellipsoidal particles, having aspect ratios close to that of wheat kernels in each size fraction, were found to be the most practical and appropriate particle model for use in DEM simulation of wheat bulk density. This study contributes to better understanding of the influence of particle shape and contact parameters on DEM-simulated bulk density and provides a calibrated particle model for use in simulating container filling operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1657-1672
Number of pages16
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020


  • Bulk density
  • Contact parameters
  • DEM
  • Particle shape
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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