To better understand the flow features of pebble cluster in pebble bed, discharging of the pebble cluster were simulated by DEM. The pebble entangled cluster was composed of eight particles connected by rigid bonds and the simulated cluster models are divided into two types: axisymmetric u-particle and distorted z-particle. The simulation starts with the closed discharge outlet and the bonded clusters with different ID are randomly added from the entrance section. The pebbles fall freely and accumulate freely in the pebble bed. The discharge hole opens after all the pebbles being stationary for a period. Then the pebbles are discharged from the pebble bed under gravity. The discharging process is time-dependent bulk-movement behavior. There is not much mixing between layers on the boundary.
The vertical end makes the packing loose, but also intensifies the interaction between particles due to entanglement. Consequently, the discharge features of pebble clusters of different included angles were quantified. The results show that the pebble discharging speeds depend on entanglement angle (α of u-particle and η of z-particle) and discharging outlet diameter. A large included angle may play the role of retarding or inhibiting the discharging flowrate. Therefore, the entanglement of particles component also always plays the key role of retarding the discharge.