Capturing the inter-particle force distribution in granular material using LS-DEM
Particle shape, as one of the most important physical ingredients of granular materials, can greatly alter the characteristic of inter-particle force distribution which is of vital importance in understanding the mechanical behavior of granular materials. However, currently both experimental and numerical studies remain limited in this regard. In this paper, we for the first time validate the ability of the level set discrete element method (LS-DEM) on capturing the inter-particle force distribution among particles of arbitrary shape. We first present the technical detail of LS-DEM; we then apply LS-DEM to simulate experiments of shearing granular materials composed of arbitrarily shaped particles. The proposed approach directly links experimentally measured material properties to model parameters such as contact stiffness without any calibration. Our results show that LS-DEM is able to not only capture the macro scale response such as stress and deformation, but also to reproduce the particle scale contact information such as the distribution of contact force magnitude, contact orientation and contact friction mobilization. Our work demonstrates the promising potential of LS-DEM on studying the mechanics and physics of natural granular material and on aiding design granular particle shape for novel macro-scale mechanical property.