Incorporating surface roughness into DEM models of crushable soils

Ningning Zhang, Marcos Arroyo, Matteo Ciantia, Antonio Gens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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One obvious characteristic of granular grains is that their surface is not smooth, especially when observed at smaller scales. Some advanced experiment imaging methods such as optical interferometry, scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy have been developed and successfully used to characterize and quantify grain surface roughness. One fundamental finding is that surface roughness can significantly affect mechanical behavior of granular materials.

Grain crushing is of importance for several geotechnical problems, such as side friction on driven piles, railway ballast durability and slaking induced irreversible deformations. Discrete Element Method (DEM) has been widely used to model grain crushing and has gained wide acceptance with its own advantages in providing micro-scale mechanical observations of granular materials (Zhou et al. 2019). However, in those models of breakable grains, grain surface roughness effects were rarely included, leading to a certain misuse of contact parameters (Ciantia et al. 2019).

In this paper, a well-established DEM crushing contact model and a rough Hertzian contact model are combined to incorporate both effects in a single contact model. The paper is organized as follows. First, a brief introduction of the rough-particle crushing model is proposed. Then a simple particle failure test is conducted to validate the correct implementation of the rough model.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th Itasca Symposium on Applied Numerical Modeling - 2020
EditorsDaniel Billaux, Jim Hazzard, Michele Nelson, Martin Schöpfer
Place of PublicationMinneapolis
PublisherItasca International
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9780976757757
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2020
EventFifth International Itasca Symposium - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 17 Feb 202020 Feb 2020


ConferenceFifth International Itasca Symposium
Internet address


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