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Exploring the micro-to-macro response of granular soils with real particle shapes via 𝝁𝑪𝑻-aided DEM analyses

Lookup NU author(s): Vasileios Angelidakis, Dr Sadegh NadimiORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This contribution provides high fidelity images of real granular materials with the aid of X-ray micro computed tomography (μCT ), and employs a multi-sphere approximation to reconstruct non-spherical particles. Through the discrete element method (DEM) simulations on granular samples composed of these non-spherical clumps, the effect of particle shape on the macroscopic mechanical response and microscopic soil fabric evolution is examined for sheared soil assemblies under triaxial loading conditions. Simulation results indicate that materials with more irregular particles tend to show higher shear resistance in both peak and critical stresses, while more sphere-like materials tend to exhibit lower void ratio and mean coordination number values under isotropic loading conditions and in the critical state. The proposed critical state parameters for describing the sensitivity of the mean coordination number to confining pressures are larger as particles become more irregular. At a microscopic level of observation, more irregular materials appear to exhibit higher fabric anisotropy in terms of contact normal and particle orientation in the critical state. The critical stress ratio determined through experimental and simulation results are found to be linearly linked to the shape-weighted fabric anisotropy index.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li Y, Otsubo M, Angelidakis V, Kuwano R, Nadimi S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Géotechnique

Year: 2024

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 31/03/2024

Acceptance date: 07/02/2024

Date deposited: 02/04/2024

ISSN (print): 0016-8505

ISSN (electronic): 1751-7656

Publisher: Emerald Publishing


DOI: 10.1680/jgeot.23.00162

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/bens-2005


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Funder referenceFunder name
EPSRC EP/V053655/1
UK Royal Society (IEC\R3\183026)