A discrete element method study of solids stress in cylindrical columns using mfix

Filippo Marchelli, Renzo Di Felice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Friction phenomena play a key role in discrete element method (DEM) modeling. To an-alyze this aspect, we employed the open-source program MFiX to perform DEM simulations of cylindrical vertical columns filled with solid particles. These are still associated with and described by the pioneering model by the German engineer H.A. Janssen. By adapting the program’s code, we were able to gather numerous insights on the stress distribution within the solids. The column was filled with different amounts of solids and, after the system had stabilized, we assessed the pressure in the vertical and radial directions and the distribution of the friction force for all particles. An analysis of the bottom pressure for varying particle loads allowed us to infer that the program can correctly predict the expected asymptotical behavior. After a detailed assessment of the behavior of a single system, we performed a sensitivity analysis taking into account several of the variables employed in the simulations. The friction coefficient and filling rate seem to affect the final behavior the most. The program appears suitable to describe friction phenomena in such a static system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Coulomb friction force
  • Discrete element method
  • Janssen effect
  • Solids pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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