2000 Volume 40 Issue 4 Pages 332-341
The finite element method (FEM) is used in conjunction with plasticity theory in granular materials to derive the stress field and velocity field inside a small experimental apparatus reproducing the blast furnace. The theory used, called hypo-plasticity, gave satisfactory agreement between numerical and experimental time lines, and was able to predict the shape of the stagnant region in the bottom part, the so called dead man, without any adjustable parameters. Specific numerical methods, like iterative remeshing, allowed it to reach steady flow conditions in an Eulerian frame. The stress field is characterized by a plastic active state in the upper part, and a plastic passive state in the lower part. The velocity field is characterized by a plug flow in the upper part, and a funnel flow in the lower part. This model can also simulate granular flows in all type of vessels, like silos. In modeling blast furnaces, its usefulness lies in its connection with a multi-phase total model.