Effect of size distribution on mixing of a polydisperse wet granular material in a belt-driven enclosure

We use a recently developed coupled fluid–particle discrete element model to study mixing of a wet granular material in a two dimensional setting. The particles are modeled as linearly elastic disks and are considered to be immersed in a Newtonian fluid. The fluid–particle interaction is modeled using a linear drag model under the assumption that the fluid inertia is small compared to particle inertia. The granular slurry is driven by a belt moving at constant velocity in a square cavity. In the simulations, we consider three types of size distributions: monodisperse, bidisperse with several particle size ratios, and polydisperse Gaussian distributions with several different standard deviations. Mixing is characterized using both strong and weak measures. Size segregation is observed only in the bidisperse simulations. The energy required for mixing polydisperse slurries decreases with increasing standard deviation of the particle sizes. Finally, we show the benefits of engineering certain polydisperse particle size distributions towards minimizing energy consumption.