The overarching aim of the PARDEM project is to provide high quality training to a group of young researchers, contributing to the development of a new generation of multidisciplinary researchers able to work within the newly emerging supra-disciplinary field of Discrete Element Method (DEM) computational simulations of granular processes.
Particle systems and granular materials are in abundance in nature and constitute over 75% of all raw material feedstock to industry. They present many challenges for innovation and fundamental science, to solve problems in areas as diverse as natural disasters and unsolved industrial material handling issues which incur extensive economic losses. Attempts to improve the situation with classical continuum theory and standard numerical methods and design tools cannot always be successful because they have to ignore the fact that particle systems consist of discrete objects. A promising interdisciplinary alternative is DEM which follows in detail the motion and interaction of particle assemblies. Even though the method is established in academia, innovation and challenges await those who apply it to realistic particle systems of industrial relevance.
Within this ITN, an intersectoral training program will reduce the shortage of R&D engineers experienced in DEM while – in parallel – several original research questions will be answered, related to the transition from very small discrete particles up to industrial processes and plants. Both objectives are necessary to formulate methods/standards for code validation and model calibration so that DEM can be transformed from a largely scientific tool into a widely adopted industrial method providing an advantage for the competitiveness of the EU economy due to reduced development times and more efficient processes. The high level of industry interest in finding elegant solutions to these problems is evident from the enthusiastic involvement of major industry players Nestlé, BASF, Zeppelin and Procter & Gamble as full partners in the project.