Fast, flexible particle simulations — An introduction to MercuryDPM

Published: 16-01-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/n7jmdrdc52.1
Thomas Weinhart,
Luca Orefice,
Mitchel Post,
Marnix P. van Schrojenstein Lantman,
Irana F.C. Denissen,
Deepak R. Tunuguntla,
J.M.F. Tsang,
Hongyang Cheng,
Mohamad Yousef Shaheen,
Hao Shi,
Paolo Rapino,
Elena Grannonio,
Nunzio Losacco,
Joao Barbosa,
Lu Jing,
Juan E. Alvarez Naranjo,
Sudeshna Roy,
Wouter K. den Otter,
Anthony R. Thornton


We introduce the open-source package MercuryDPM, which we have been developing over the last few years. MercuryDPM is a code for discrete particle simulations. It simulates the motion of particles by applying forces and torques that stem either from external body forces, (gravity, magnetic fields, etc.) or particle interactions. The code has been developed extensively for granular applications, and in this case these are typically (elastic, plastic, viscous, frictional) contact forces or (adhesive) short-range forces. However, it could be adapted to include long-range (molecular, self-gravity) interactions as well. MercuryDPM is an object-oriented algorithm with an easy-to-use user interface and a flexible core, allowing developers to quickly add new features. It is parallelised using MPI and released under the BSD 3-clause licence. Its open-source developers’ community has developed many features, including moving and curved walls; state-of-the-art granular contact models; specialised classes for common geometries; non-spherical particles; general interfaces; restarting; visualisation; a large self-test suite; extensive documentation; and numerous tutorials and demos. In addition, MercuryDPM has three major components that were originally invented and developed by its team: an advanced contact detection method, which allows for the first time large simulations with wide size distributions; curved (non-triangulated) walls; and multicomponent, spatial and temporal coarse-graining, a novel way to extract continuum fields from discrete particle systems. We illustrate these tools and a selection of other MercuryDPM features via various applications, including size-driven segregation down inclined planes, rotating drums, and dosing silos.