A numerical investigation of the incremental behavior of crushable granular soils

M. O. Ciantia, Marcos Arroyo, F. Calvetti, A. Gens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanical behavior of granular materials is characterized by strong nonlinearity and irreversibility. These properties have been differently described by a variety of constitutive models. To test any constitutive model, experimental data relative to the nature of the incremental stress–strain response of the material is desirable. However, this type of laboratory data is scarce because of being expensive and difficult to obtain. The discrete element method has been used several times as an alternative to obtain incremental responses of granular materials. Crushable grains add one extra source of irreversibility to granular materials. Crushability has been variously incorporated into different constitutive models. Again, it will be helpful to obtain incremental responses of crushable granular materials to test these models, but the experimental difficulties are increased. Making use of a recently introduced crushing model for discrete element simulation, this paper presents a new procedure to obtain incremental responses in discrete analogs of granular crushable materials. The parallel probe approach, previously used for uncrushable discrete analogs, is here extended to account for the presence of crushable grains. The contribution of grain crushing to the incremental irreversible strain is identified and separately measured. Robustness of the proposed method is examined in detail, paying particular attention to aspects such as dynamic instability or crushing localization. The proposed procedure is later applied to map incremental responses of a discrete analog of Fontainebleau sand on the triaxial plane. The effect of stress ratio and granular state on plastic flow characteristics is highlighted. Copyright Â

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1773-1798
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number13
Early online date19 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • crushing
  • discrete element method
  • granular materials
  • incremental nonlinearity
  • stress probing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • General Materials Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanics of Materials


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