Experimental Granular Flow of Multiple Particle Types for Concentrated Solar Power Applications to Improve State of the Art Modeling Capability

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.


Advisor: Andrew Schrader


Particle systems for concentrating solar applications present a non-trival challenge to adequately model with DEM software. A compiled modeling suite for radiative exchange, coined DEM+, is directly integrated into commercial software Aspherix®. A presentation of this modeling suite, advantages, and disadvantages is followed by an expanded look at the Distance Based Approximation (DBA) method for estimating particle-particle and particle-wall radiative exchange of more realistic particle size distributions and some simple binary mixtures. In addition, design, operation, and preliminary experimental results for a lab-scale multi-stage falling particle curtain are evaluated with particle image velocimetry (PIV) from two perspectives with discussion of the challenges therein. A room temperature DEM model of investigated particles is compared to experimental results with emphasis on future work for material calibration for DEM+.


Concentrated Solar Power, CSP, Discrete Element Method Modeling, DEM, Particles, Falling Particle Curtain, Granular Media, DEM+, Radiative Exchange, Heat Transfer, Monte Carlo Ray Tracing, Volumetric Monte Carlo Ray Tracing, Ray Tracing

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2023, author.