This project is funded
by the European Union
(Marie Curie Actions - IAPP)

About the Project


A vast number of engineering applications includes not solely physics of a single domain but consist in several physical phenomena, and therefore, are referred to as multi-physics. As long as the phenomena considered are to be treated by either a continuous i.e. Eulerian or discrete i.e. Lagrangian approach, a homogeneous numerical solution concept may be employed to solve the problem.

However, numerous challenges in engineering exist and evolve. This includes a continuous and discrete phase simultaneously, which cannot be solved accurately by continuous or discrete approaches, only. Problems that involve both a continuous and a discrete phase are important in applications as diverse as pharmaceutical industry e.g. drug production, agriculture food and processing industry, mining, construction and agricultural machinery, metals manufacturing, energy production and systems biology. Some predominant examples are coffee, corn flakes, nuts, coal, sand, renewable fuels e.g. biomass for energy production and fertilizer.
In particular, a discrete approach to determine both the dynamic (position and orientation) and thermodynamic (temperature and species) state of individual and discrete particles of an ensemble which is not available to date. Similarly, the impact of particles on structures or on flow of gases or liquids is largely unexplored.

In addition, Merrow [1] pointed out that particulate and multiphase processing rarely reach more than 60% of the design capacity because of inadequate understanding of the fundamentals. Any technological advance would thus bound to produce a mayor economic impact.

[1] E. W. Merrow. Linking R&D to problems experienced in solids processing. Chemical Engineering Progress, 81:14-22, 1985.

Advanced Multiphysics Simulation Technology (AMST)

A large gap in the simulation environment exists for the coupled discrete-continuous phase applications, because the solution process is complex, and has still not been attempted in a rigorous approach.

Having identified this technological gap, the AMST partners University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg) and inuTech GmbH (Germany) together with associate partners from industry and academia namely Paul Wurth (Luxembourg), FLSmidth (Denmark) and Lithuanian Energy Institute (Lithuania) were set to develop advanced multi-physics simulation technology (AMST), referred to as Extended Discrete Element Method (XDEM).

The objective

Rather than extending the Discrete Particle Method by continuous solution concepts of field problems such as structural analysis or fluid-dynamics, the main objective of the current proposal is the development of Advanced Multi-physics Simulation Technology (AMST) as a generic, extendible and versatile interface for coupling the Discrete Particle Method (DPM) to field problems applicable under industrial standards.


For this purpose, the software module of the Discrete Particle Method (DPM), available at the University of Luxembourg, which represents the discrete phase was coupled to the Finite Element (FEM) or Finite Volume Method (FVM), which shows the continuous phases, by a generic interface throughout the lifetime of the project. A vast number of software relies on FEM and FVM as discretisation techniques for continuous domains such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

In order to facilitate application of this tool, an appropriate graphical user interface (GUI) was developed. The GUI and these interfaces advanced significantly the predictive capabilities of the AMST tool and allowed to treat applications as diverse as powder metallurgy, material science, snow research, thermal conversion of biomass to promote renewable energy, iron making, material handling and its machinery. Therefore, they have achieved and exceed the objectives and anticipated applications’ areas of the project.