An important objective of recent research on micro-mechanics of granular materials is to develop macroscopic constitutive relations in terms of micro-mechanical quantities at inter-particle contacts. Although the micro-mechanical formulation of the stress tensor is well established, the corresponding formulation for the strain tensor has proven to be much more evasive, still being the subject of much discussion. In this paper, we study various micro-mechanical strain formulations for three-dimensional granular assemblies, following the work of Bagi in two dimensions (Bagi, 2006). All of these formulations are either based on an equivalent continuum approach, or follow the best-fit approach. Their accuracy is evaluated by comparing their results, using data from Discrete Element Method simulations on periodic assemblies, to the macroscopic deformation. It is found that Bagi’s formulation (Bagi, 1996), which is based on the Delaunay tessellation of space, is the most accurate. Furthermore, the best-fit formulation based on particle displacements only did unexpectedly well, in contrast to previously reported results for two-dimensional assemblies.
- Strain tensor
- Granular materials