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Partic. vol. 39 pp. 109-115 (August 2018)
doi: 10.1016/j.partic.2017.09.007

Implementation and validation of a volume-of-fluid and discrete-element-method combined solver in OpenFOAM

Linmin Lia, Baokuan Lib,*

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    • A volume-of-fluid and discrete-element-method solver was implemented in OpenFOAM. • Case studies were carried out with the simulation results compared with previous experiments. • The solver was suitable for systems with discrete particles and distinct fluid interface.


Numerous gas–liquid–solid flows exist in chemical engineering and metallurgical processes. Numerical modeling is an important topic that can be used to improve the design and investigate the operating conditions of these processes. The complicated interphase interaction within such three-phase systems, which include free surfaces and discrete phases, poses challenges in the existing methods. We implemented a volume-of-fluid (VOF) and discrete-element-method (DEM) combined solver, which should be useful for modeling the gas–liquid–solid systems, within the OpenFOAM framework. The Du Plessis and Masliyah drag force, added mass force, and capillary force were considered for fluid–particle coupling. The VOF–DEM solver was tested in three different cases, namely, particles in pure gas, particle collision in water, and gas–liquid–solid three-phase dam break. The results were validated against previous experiments and good agreement was obtained between the simulations and the experiments, which indicates the accuracy and suitability of this VOF–DEM solver for gas–liquid–solid systems.

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Gas–liquid–solid flow; Volume of fluid; Discrete element method; OpenFOAM