Granular Media Motion in a Rotary Kiln: Design, Testing and Analysis Combined with Coupled Radiative Exchange Techniques in a Discrete Element Method Tool for Concentrating Solar Power Application

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Advisor: Rydge Mulford


The goal of this work is to experimentally characterize the heat transfer and flow properties of particulate flow for concentrating solar power (CSP) applications. This work expands on commercially available Discrete Element Method (DEM) modeling software, Aspherix®, by adding radiative exchange models in DEM, called DEM+. A small-scale rotary kiln is created to study particle properties in the ‘liquid’ regime of particle motion at temperatures up to 800 °C to capture a dynamic particle-particle granular flow. Bulk flow characterized by the Froude number is investigated at with different fill angles, wall roughnesses, and rotational speeds. Three types of alumina silicate particles are used as a representative sampling of granular media experienced in CSP systems. These experiments aim to validate the DEM+ modeling tool.


Rotary kiln, concentrating solar power, granular media, Discrete Element Method, radiative exchange, Froude number, particles

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Copyright © 2023, author.