Grading evolution and critical state in a discrete numerical model of Fontainebleau sand

Matteo Ciantia (Lead / Corresponding author), Marcos Arroyo, Catherine O'Sullivan, Antonio Gens, Tingfa Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)
169 Downloads (Pure)


Granular materials reach critical states upon shearing. The position and shape of a critical state line (CSL) in the compression plane are important for constitutive models, interpretation of in situ tests and liquefaction analyses. It is not fully clear how grain crushing may affect the identification and uniqueness of the CSL in granular soils. Discrete-element simulations are used here to establish the relation between breakage-induced grading evolution and the CSL position in the compression plane. An efficient model of particle breakage is applied to perform a large number of tests, in which grading evolution is continuously tracked using a grading index. Using both previous and new experimental results, the discrete-element model is calibrated and validated to represent Fontainebleau sand, a quartz sand. The results obtained show that, when breakage is present, the inclusion of a grading index in the description of critical states is advantageous. This can be simply done using the critical state plane (CSP) concept. A CSP is obtained for Fontainebleau sand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Early online date3 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Discrete-element modelling
  • Particle crushing/crushability
  • Sands
  • Shear strength
  • Stress path

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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