The effect of side walls on particles mixing in rotating drums

Aman Jain, Fabien Evrard, Berend van Wachem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we study the effects of the presence and shape of side walls and of the overall length of rotating cylindrical drums on the mixing of particles with differing sizes by application of the discrete element method (DEM). By varying the semi-axis of the spheroidally shaped side walls and the length of the overall drum, we observe the formation of circulation patterns near the side walls. Although there is a vast amount of literature studying mixing regimes in rotating drums, little is known about the effect of the side walls of the drum on particle mixing. The results of our study demonstrate that introducing curved side walls induces a strong circulation pattern near these side walls, but has, paradoxically, a negative impact on mixing and actually promotes segregation. The cause for this segregation is the difference in velocity of differently sized particles near the curved side walls. Large particles accumulate at the curved side walls, whereas small particles move away from the curved side walls. When the length of the drum is increased, the overall effect of the side walls is decreased, although it does remain observable, even in very large drums.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Discrete element method
  • Particle mixing
  • Rotating drums
  • Side walls of rotating drums

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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