Ben Sloof Nominated For KIvI Best Offshore Graduate Student

3D simulation of a hopper loading process

Ben Sloof was one of the best graduate students we had here at our company. For his thesis1, he tackled a complex problem and managed to model this in a reliable simulation. Now he is nominated for best Offshore Graduate Student. Today, there will be a KIvI Offshore lecture evening with a ceremony to award the prize2. Once again3, Ben will deliver a capturing pitch on his thesis. So, let’s review what he has achieved.

Van Rhee and similar ‘Euler’ models

At the chair of Dredging Technology of professor van Rhee, a lot of effort is put in describing the hopper loading in so called ‘Euler’ models. This is where you calculate the flow of the fluid and derive the flux of material that is carried within. Ben is standing on the shoulders of giants here, as by now there are a lot of models available4. We opted to use an existing simulation platform: OpenFOAM. One of the plugins for this open source program is DriftFlux, where the valuable grains are treated as a continuum fluid moving through the rest of the fluid. The extra effort of Ben, was to modify this DriftFlux plugin to account for settling and scour. This is in itself is already an unprecedented feat. Complicated by the unstructured calculations within DriftFlux and OpenFOAM. Nonetheless, after careful verification, he was able to perform interesting simulations of the hopper loading process.

Concentration and Velocity

After careful examination of the simulations, Ben started to see patterns in the flow. These set him on a track to build a whole new model. This new layer model credibly describes the process as well, without the complexity of a CFD simulation. As the development of a multi-fraction version of the OpenFOAM platform is still in progress, final verification is still pending. At least, the differences we see between the single fraction model and reality can be explained by what can be expected. It is open to further expansion with future research and can be used as a starting point for the next improvement.

Introduction to the key components of the proposed new ‘Layer Model’ (1DV)

And that is an insight worthy of extra appraisal: finally cracking the riddle of the sands settling in the hopper. We hope you will receive the prize. You deserve it.

Good luck Ben, we wish you all the best on your future voyages to unknown destinations. We are sure you’ll be blessed and a blessing, wherever you go.

Setting sail to distant shores


  1. Graduation of Ben Sloof: Hopper Loading Model and Overflow Losses
  2. KIvI Evening: Johan Sverdrup Platform Installatie
  3. Hopper Loading: What Happens Beneath the Surface
  4. IADC Young Author Award for 1DH Hopper Loading Model of Jordy Boone

See also