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Research Project: Mechanistic Modeling of Wind Barriers and Grain Commingling Using CFD and DEM


Project Number: 3012-61660-007-11-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 15, 2010
End Date: Sep 14, 2015

Develop mechanistic simulation models of: (1) airflow through and around vegetative wind barriers using Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to facilitate improving the characterization of wind barriers in wind erosion modeling and (2) grain handling in elevator equipment using the discrete element method (DEM) to facilitate improved identity preserved (IP) grain handling operations.

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of airflow around and through wind barriers will be developed for porous vegetative barriers. The standard k–e model will be used for modeling turbulence and the governing equations will be discretized using a first order upwind scheme. The models will be refined and then validated by comparing predicted air velocities with published data. The validated CFD model will be applied to simulate airflow through and dust particle collection by single rows of trees during different seasons and with different barrier heights. The discrete element method (DEM) will be used to model adventitious grain commingling in bucket elevator legs. Existing particle models for corn, soybeans, and wheat will be used to create grain handling models in 3-d and quasi-2-d. The models will be applied to full-scale legs to evaluate the effect of: (1) operating parameters (flow rate, grain type, and cleanout procedures) and (2) design factors (uptake side, boot size, and cup design) on adventitious commingling levels. Preferred operating conditions and design characteristics for reducing undesirable commingling will then be evaluated.