Small matter, big uses
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Software designed for developing video games could enhance the speed and accuracy of particulate flow simulations. Junxing Zheng, ISU CCEE assistant professor, is using video game engines to simulate mechanical behavior of particulate materials under various loads when used in construction.
“This proposed project will accelerate computer simulations of particulate materials consisting of irregular particles,” Zheng says. “It will fill the knowledge gap that links micro particle properties and the macro mechanical behavior of granular soils, with great potential to enhance our current understanding of granular soils as construction and load-bearing materials, the porous matrix for flows and storage, and vulnerable components during failures and hazards.”
Video game engines help simulate various physical and mechanical processes that occur in real life. They allow developers to create the most realistic gaming experience. Zheng is extending this technique to simulate particulate materials in more realistic conditions.
In addition to the construction industry, this technique can be used in mining and agricultural industries to optimize earth-moving machinery such as dump trucks, excavator buckets and harvesters. The technique can also be used in the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries to optimize mixing, tablet coating and separating processes.