Friday, 25 October 2013

The Importance of DEM to Comminution Science

Over the last two decades the Discrete Element Method (DEM) has become an important tool for understanding comminution fundamentals and providing information for the design, optimisation and operation of comminution devices. Over that time, the application of DEM in simulating fracture, breakage, crushing, milling and equipment wear has increased in size and complexity. Information from DEM has contributed to modelling techniques such as mechanistic modelling, the Unified Comminution Model and the Virtual Comminution Machine. These have enabled step changes in understanding of comminution processes. DEM is now widely used in industries where comminution is critical.

Important challenges remain for the next decade including representation of unresolved fine material: prediction of its influence on the overall processes and its size reduction. Similarly, slurry phase transport and rheology have barely been touched on in using computational techniques in comminution modelling. Most importantly in the future is the uptake of the DEM outputs into standard comminution models used in design and optimisation of equipment and processes, as despite the progress made in understanding and in quantitative outputs the barriers to routine uptake have not been surmounted.

Among the leaders in this field are workers from CSIRO and JKMRC in Australia, Chalmers University in Sweden and Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, all of whom will be presenting up to date work in this area at Comminution '14. They have also just published an excellent review on the contribution of DEM to the science of comminution in the journal Powder Technology.

A reminder to you all that the deadline for abstract submission to Comminution '14 is October 31st.

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