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Partic. vol. 39 pp. 1-11 (August 2018)
doi: 10.1016/j.partic.2017.08.004

Numerical simulation of tetrahedral particle mixing and motion in rotating drums

Nan Guia,*, Xingtuan Yanga, Jiyuan Tua,b, Shengyao Jianga,*, Zhen Zhanga

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    • Mixing behavior of tetrahedral and spherical particles was compared using SIPHPM simulations. • Flow regime and mixing level depended on rotation speed, filling level and particle shape. • Tetrahedra were better mixed than spheres at high filling level in rolling and cascading regimes. • Tetrahedra were mixed slower than spheres in rolling and cascading regimes.


A regular tetrahedron is the simplest three-dimensional structure and has the largest non-sphericity. Mixing of tetrahedral particles in a thin drum mixer was studied by the soft-sphere-imbedded pseudo-hard particle model and compared with that of spherical particles. The two particle types were simulated with different rotation speeds and drum filling levels. The Lacey mixing index and Shannon information entropy were used to explore the effects of sphericity on the mixing and motion of particles. Moreover, the probability density functions and mean values and variances of motion velocities, including translational and rotational, were computed to quantify the differences between the motion features of tetrahedra and spheres. We found that the flow regime depended on the particle shape in addition to the rotation speed and filling level of the drum. The mixing of tetrahedral particles was better than that of spherical particles in the rolling and cascading regimes at a high filling level, whereas it may be poorer when the filling level was low. The Shannon information entropy is better than the Lacey mixing index to evaluate mixing because it can reflect the real change of flow regime from the cataracting to the centrifugal regime, whereas the mixing index cannot.

Graphical abstract


Tetrahedron; Non-spherical particle; Mixing; Drum; Flow regime; Discrete element method