Application of DEM-based metamodels in bulk handling equipment design: Methodology and DEM case study

Marc P. Fransen*, Matthijs Langelaar, Dingena L. Schott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Developments in discrete element modelling (DEM) enable detailed modelling of granular flows in bulk handling equipment (BHE) but due to the computational expense of DEM, wide use in analysing equipment performance is not yet feasible. Metamodels are a viable option to effectively use DEM in analysing BHE performance. Metamodels are able to approximate the behaviour of BHE efficiently for a wide range of design parameter values. We present a methodology to construct and validate DEM-based metamodels as well as a discharging hopper case study illustrating the use and benefits of metamodels in combination with DEM. For three different metamodels trained on a DEM data set, the results show that the metamodel quality highly depends on the number of samples and finding proper hyper-parameter values. The constructed metamodels are found capable of adequately representing the relation between performance and design parameters. It is concluded that methodically constructed metamodels are a valuable addition in describing BHE behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-218
JournalPowder Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Bulk handling equipment
  • DEM
  • Hopper discharge
  • Metamodel construction procedure
  • Metamodeling


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