Screw-generated forces in granular media: Experimental, computational, and analytical comparison

Andrew Thoesen, Sierra Ramirez, Hamidreza Marvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study presents an experimental, computational, and analytical comparison of a submerged, double-helix Archimedes screw generating propulsive force against a bed of glass beads. Three screws of different pitch lengths were studied. Each screw was tested at six speeds in approximately 10 trials for a total of 180 experimental trials. These experiments were then replicated in EDEM, a discrete element method (DEM) software program. DEM simulation results for thrust forces in the 30–120 rpm regime had a 5%–20% inflation of forces compared to experimental results. These simulations were then compared with resistive force theory (RFT) plate approximation of the screw geometries. We analyze a superposition-based partition approach to the full-length screws as well as force generation in shortened, one- and two-blade screws. We find that the force generation is dependent on the flow patterns and cannot be reduced to partitioned approximations as with simple intruders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-903
Number of pages10
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • discrete element method
  • granular media
  • resistive force theory
  • screw

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


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