The Discrete Element Method
The Discrete Element Method

The Discrete Element Method

Graz University of Technology

Stefan Radl


Duration 7 units
Unit 2 hours/unit
Licence CC BY 4.0
Participants 413
Availability Unlimited
Start Date 3 Ekim 2023
Costs € 0.00

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General Course Information

#imoox, #DEM, #engineering, #chemicalengineering, #particle, #simulation

The Discrete Element Method (DEM) is a computational method to predict the flow of particles. Since such flows are frequently encountered in nature and engineering practice, the DEM has emerged as a powerful and valuable tool in science and industrial practice.

But how does the DEM work? Which information is needed to make a prediction using the DEM? This MOOC provides a basic course that allow you to answer these questions!


Course Content

In this MOOC, both fundamentals and more advanced topics related to the DEM are covered. The ultimate goal is to provide the mathematical foundation and software skills to correctly setup and interpret a DEM-based simulation. For this purpose, a number of calculations, as well as simulation examples will be discussed.

The course is divided into seven units that are grouped as follows:

  • Introduction (unit 1)
  • Part 1: DEM Fundamentals
    Theoretical Foundations of the DEM (Unit 2)
    Force Model Closures – Essentials (Unit 3)
    Practical Aspects when using the DEM (Unit 4)
  • Part 2: DEM Advanced Topics
    Force Model Closures – Advanced (Unit 5)
    Calibration, Verification and Validation (Unit 6)
    Modeling Non-spherical Particles (Unit 7)

Course Goals

After attending this MOOC, the participants should be able to...

  • ... configure and run a DEM simulator
  • ... postprocess and interpret results from a DEM simulation

Previous Knowledge


The MOOC assumes only some basic knowledge of mechanics and mathematics. Specifically, this includes:

  • Newton’s laws of (translational) motion
  • Basic vector operations (addition, various forms of vector multiplication)

Course Procedure

Each unit is structured as follows:

  • an introductional video lays the foundations of each unit.
  • one or more videos with interactive questions form the core of each teaching unit
  • these videos are followed by self-assessment quizes to check the knowledge gained. In order to obtain the MOOC certificate, at least 75% of the points must be achieved in each of these quizzes.

Hand outs (PDFs) are provided to help the students in taking notes, as well as to underline key learning concepts.

For the particularly motivated, we offer additional material: For example, these are more complex questoins and calculations, or larger simulation examples. Worked out examples of this additional material can be handed in to collect the credits for the accompanying TU Graz course of Prof. Radl.

Participants are encouraged to raise questions in the accompanying forum. These can then be answered by both the course creators and the participants.


For actively participating in the course you will receive an automatic certificate which includes your username, the course name as well as the completed lessons. We want to point out that this certificate merely confirms that the user answered at least 75% of the self-assessment questions correctly.


The teaching material for this MOOC is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Note that some video material might be covered by a different license - this is mentioned at the end of such a video.

Collect ECTS with this MOOC!

You can also collect ETCS. Please register via TUGRAZonline, and enroll in the course CHE.874UF ("Design of Multiphase Flow Processes"). This course will be offered in the summer semester 2024.

Course Instructor

Stefan Radl
Stefan Radl

Stefan holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). During his PhD and post-doc studies he developed and used DEM-based simulators, as well as associated post-processing tools. Since 2018 he is an Associate Professor at TU Graz, where he holds a venia docendi for the subject “particle technology”. His interest is in connecting different simulation tools for particulate and suspensions flows, as well as applying them to challenges faced by the chemical industry.

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This MOOC is based on the outcome of two projects that received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme: Marie Skłodowska Curie grant agreements No 812638 (CALIPER) and 813202 (MATHEGRAM). Partners - in addition to TU Graz - that contributed to this MOOC include:

  • DCS Computing (Austria)
  • Johnson Matthey (UK)
  • University of Navarra (Spain)
  • University of Surrey (UK)
  • Wageningen University (Netherlands)

Graz University of Technology

Graz University of Technology


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