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I hope this is the right place for my question.


I am a university student who designed a pea-pouring machine.Now I‘m really interested in simulating the behavior of those peas. Basically, they are inside a tank that is closed by a slider. When the slider opens up, the peas fall out due to gravity.

I have a license for Autodesk CFD and already did some small things with it. Do you know if I can simulate the peas' behavior with it? Do you know any software that is capable of simulating it?

Reasonable results of the simulation are perfectly fine. No need for a perfect simulation. Mostly, I want to try it because I‘m interested in doing so. Thank you for your help!

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As always, answers to questions of this kind will be of the form "it depends". What it depends on is how many peas you have.

If you only have a few dozen peas that dribble out of the container, then what you have is not a fluid but a "granular medium" because the behavior of what is happening is best described by the trajectories of the individual peas. If you search for "dynamics of granular media", you will find a large literature on this topic as it is important in many areas: For example, dealing with pills in manufacturing medicine, or in dealing with boulders and rocks when processing ores.

On the other hand, if you have tens of thousands of peas forming a steady stream, then that can be considered a specific kind of fluid since you're not interested in individual trajectories, but collective behavior. So you would consider for example the peas density as the function you are trying to solve for. The right description in such cases is that of fluid dynamics, say using the Stokes or Navier-Stokes equations. The interesting part then is what the viscosity of such a fluid is going to be, and you'll probably find that it is a nonlinear function of the strain rate and density because peas in close proximity tend to lock and block narrow outlets even if they are smaller than the outlet itself. Many interesting models could be derived for such flows; whether Autodesk CFD can deal with this is a question I don't know the answer to, though.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank your for your help. I have done a bit of research and solved my issue by using LIGGGHTS and ParaView. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 13:44

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