Confined Compression of Single Particles : Development of a Novel Triaxial Testing Instrument and Particle-Scale Modelling

Sammanfattning: When predicting the performance of a powder compaction process, assessing the behaviour of the particles comprising the powder bed is of central relevance. Currently, however, no experimental methods are available for mimicking the multiaxial loading conditions imposed on the individual particles in a powder bed during compaction, and such analyses are therefore usually performed in silico. Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to introduce a novel experimental method that enables experimental evaluation of confined triaxial loading conditions on individual particles in the mm-scale.The work underlying the thesis consists of three major parts. Firstly, the triaxial instrument was designed and developed, after which its performance was evaluated using nominally ideal elastic-plastic spheres as model materials. These initial experiments showed that the instrument was able to successfully impose confined triaxial conditions on the particles, something that was verified by finite element method (FEM) simulations.Secondly, the triaxial instrument was used to investigate differences in deformation characteristics under uniaxial and triaxial loading conditions for four different microcrystalline cellulose (MCC)-based granules. It was shown that fragmentation, associated with unconfined uniaxial compression, was impeded under confined triaxial conditions, despite the emergence of cracks. In addition, it was observed that the primary crack always occurs in a plane parallel to the most deformed direction, and that the location of the largest pore has a pronounced influence on the path of the crack.Thirdly, the influence of different triaxial loading ratios were evaluated on polymer spheres, after which a unified description of contact pressure development was devised. Data from these experiments were then successfully used to calibrate a contact model for simulating bulk powder compression with the discrete element method (DEM).All in all, a novel experimental method has been established, which has proven useful as an alternative and complement to numerical studies when studying single particle deformation under confined triaxial conditions.