Quasi-static compaction of polyhedra by the discrete element method

Kyle C. Smith, Timothy S. Fisher, Meheboob Alam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Metal hydrides have tremendous potential to meet on-board hydrogen storage requirements for fuel cell vehicles as set by the US DoE. Cyclic strain caused by addition and depletion of hydrogen in metal hydride beds results in brittle fracture and subsequent formation of micron-sized, faceted particles. These beds inhibit hydride formation because of poor inter-particle heat conduction that increases the bed's temperature during exothermic hydriding reactions. This work involves the development of a model for generating loose configurations of metal hydride powder and for assessing the commensurate quasi-static loading characteristics. Particles in the powder are modeled by regular tetrahedra and cubes. An energy-based elastic contact mechanics model for particles of general shape is utilized. The numerical methods utilized to determine quasi-static equilibrium are described and exercised with particular emphasis on issues of stability and computational efficiency. Triaxial strain is applied to simulate evolution of the solid fraction, coordination number, force network connectivity, and internal pressure as consolidation occurs in the absence of interparticle friction. These modeling elements form the mechanical basis of a model that will ultimately predict the thermo-mechanical behavior of metal hydride powders and compacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPowders and Grains 2009 - Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Micromechanics of Granular Media
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event6th International Conference on Micromechanics of Granular Media, Powders and Grains 2009 - Golden, CO, United States
Duration: Jul 13 2009Jul 17 2009

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other6th International Conference on Micromechanics of Granular Media, Powders and Grains 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityGolden, CO


  • Compaction
  • Discrete element method
  • Faceted particles
  • Metal hydride
  • Quasi-static

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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