Study of granular self-organization inside a cylinder driven by an orbital-shaker using discrete element method

Jielin Yu, Chunliang Wu, Yuehao Li, Shankar Ghosh, J. B. Joshi, Mayank Tyagi, K. Nandakumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this work, we applied discrete element method (DEM) based simulations to investigate the granular organization phenomenon recently observed in an orbital shaker. The simulation results capture the complex motion and self-organizing patterns of particles. When a single particle descends along the wall of an orbiting cylinder, the centrifugal and frictional forces acting on the particle lead to an oscillating trajectory. In contrast, when multiple particles descend from the top, they form a monolayer of a reproducible trapezoidal robust shape on the inner wall, being supported by particles from below and sides, while rotating with the cylinder. The simulation results confirm the hypothesis of auto-tuning of friction and reveal that there are three distinct regions in the monolayer with varying states of particle motion. Also, it explains the observation that the varying intensity of particle interactions induces the auto-tuning of friction. Particles dissipate the rolling energy through particle interactions and transition their state gradually from rolling to sliding within the monolayer, which subsequently increases the friction forces acting on the particles and balances the overall centrifugal force with the frictional force. This work is the first successful attempt to understand the granular organization phenomenon in orbital shaking by DEM simulations, and it may be beneficial to the design and operation of industrial equipment involving such granular systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115194
JournalChemical Engineering Science
StatePublished - 14 Dec 2019


  • Discrete Element Method (DEM)
  • Granular flow mixing
  • Mixing in Orbital shaker
  • Non-linear dynamics
  • Self-organization


Dive into the research topics of 'Study of granular self-organization inside a cylinder driven by an orbital-shaker using discrete element method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this