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An Experimental Study of the Effect of Particle Shape on Force Transmission and Mobilized Strength of Granular Materials

Marteau, Eloïse and Andrade, José E. (2021) An Experimental Study of the Effect of Particle Shape on Force Transmission and Mobilized Strength of Granular Materials. Journal of Applied Mechanics, 88 (11). Art. No. 111009. ISSN 0021-8936. doi:10.1115/1.4051818.

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Force chains have been regarded as an important hallmark of granular materials. Numerous studies have examined their evolution, properties, and statistics in highly idealized, often circular-shaped, granular assemblies. However, particles found in nature and handled in industries come in a wide variety of shapes. In this article, we experimentally investigate the robustness of force chains with respect to particle shape. We present a detailed analysis on the particle- to continuum-scale response of granular materials affected by particle shape, which includes the force transmission and mobilized shear strength. The effect of shape is studied by comparing experimental results collected from shear tests performed on 2D analog circular- and arbitrarily shaped granular assemblies. Particle shapes are directly discretized from X-ray CT images of a real sand sample. By inferring individual contact forces using the granular element method (GEM), we provide a direct visualization of the force network, a statistical characterization of the force transmission and a quantitative description of the shear strength in terms of rolling, sliding, and interlocking contact mechanisms. We report that force chains are less prevalent in assemblies of arbitrarily-shaped particles than in circular-shaped samples. Furthermore, interlocking is identified as the essential contact mechanism that (1) furnishes a stable structure for force chains to emerge and (2) explains the enhanced shear strength observed in the arbitrarily-shaped samples. These findings highlight the importance of accounting for particle shape to capture and predict the complex mechanical behavior of granular materials across scales.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Andrade, José E.0000-0003-3741-0364
Additional Information:© 2021 by ASME. Received: June 14, 2021; Revised: July 13, 2021; Accepted: July 14, 2021; Published: August 3, 2021. Data Availability Statement: The datasets generated and supporting the findings of this article are obtainable from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. There are no conflicts of interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)HDTRA1-12-1-0041
Subject Keywords:mechanical properties of materials, micromechanics, stress analysis
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211022-213955248
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Marteau, E., and Andrade, J. E. (August 3, 2021). "An Experimental Study of the Effect of Particle Shape on Force Transmission and Mobilized Strength of Granular Materials." ASME. J. Appl. Mech. November 2021; 88(11): 111009.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111615
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Oct 2021 18:16
Last Modified:26 Oct 2021 18:16

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