A contact model for rough crushable sand

Ningning Zhang, Matteo Ciantia (Lead / Corresponding author), Marcos Arroyo, Antonio Gens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Sand roughness is now accessible to measurement. Incorporating this parameter into sand models using the discrete element method (DEM) is known to improve bulk small strain response. In this work we explore the effect on problems where particle crushing takes place. A well-established DEM particle crushing model and a rough Hertzian contact model are here combined to incorporate both effects in a single contact model. Including contact roughness results in stronger particles whilst all other material parameters being equal. The model is then used to simulate high pressure oedometric compression tests on a strong silica sand. It is shown that including realistic values of surface roughness enables to correctly capture both load-unload behaviour and particle size distribution evolution while using realistic values of elastic bulk properties for the sand grains. Roughness is then a model refinement that may result in simpler, more objective DEM calibrations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-814
Number of pages17
JournalSoils and Foundations
Issue number3
Early online date5 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Surface roughness
  • Discrete-element modelling
  • Particle crushing/crushability
  • Stress path
  • Stress analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A contact model for rough crushable sand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this