Rigid clumps in the MercuryDPM particle dynamics code

Igor Ostanin*, Vasileios Angelidakis, Timo Plath, Sahar Pourandi, Anthony Thornton, Thomas Weinhart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Discrete particle simulations have become the standard in science and industrial applications exploring the properties of particulate systems. Most of such simulations rely on the concept of interacting spherical particles to describe the properties of particulates, although, the correct representation of the nonspherical particle shape is crucial for a number of applications. In this work we describe the implementation of clumps, i.e. assemblies of rigidly connected spherical particles, which can approximate given nonspherical shapes, within the MercuryDPM particle dynamics code. MercuryDPM contact detection algorithm is particularly efficient for polydisperse particle systems, which is essential for multilevel clumps approximating complex surfaces. We employ the existing open-source CLUMP library to generate clump particles. We detail the pre-processing tools providing necessary initial data, as well as the necessary adjustments of the algorithms of contact detection, collision/migration and numerical time integration. The capabilities of our implementation are illustrated for a variety of examples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109034
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Early online date05 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MercuryDPM has been supported by many projects, both past and present. The features presented here were (partially) funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), in the framework of the ENW PPP Fund for the topsectors and from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the framework of the “PPS-Toeslagregeling”.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Discrete element methods
  • Nonspherical particle dynamics
  • Rigid clumps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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