Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Anthony D. Rosato

Second Advisor

N. Aubry

Third Advisor

Denis L. Blackmore

Abstract

The study of particles interacting in lattice structures allows for insight into the complex interactions of granular flow, and the adaptation of such structures to mechanical apparatuses to handle the separation of bulk particulate matter. Applying methods of computer analysis to the interactions taking place within the particle-lattice system provides a particle level methodology to the study of the phenomenon taking place, as well as a stepping stone for future design of related devices.

A two prong approach is presented to the study of such particle-lattice systems. The first approach is composed of adapting an existing discrete element computer code to handle the geometry and peculiars of a particle traveling through a simple triangular lattice system. This discrete element code has been shown in previous research to accurately represent the interactions of such complex systems as a vibrating granular bed, and has been successful in predicting convective transport and other dynamical properties. The second approach, nonlinear dynamic analysis, applies the geometry of the lattice structure and attempts to wrap the physical particle-lattice interaction into a simple mapping function. Finally, a comparative analysis of the two previously mentioned methods of study is performed to physical experiments on an exact replica of the particle-lattice structure at hand.

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