Anisotropic stress state and small strain stiffness in granular materials: RC experiments and DEM simulations

Meisam Goudarzy, Vanessa Magnanimo*, Diethard König, Tom Schanz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)


The paper combines experimental and numerical analyses to study the relation between small strain stiffness and micro-structure of an idealized granular material under isotropic and anisotropic stress conditions. Results from the resonant column device on glass ballotini show that the relation between the maximum shear modulus and anisotropic stress components strongly depends on the applied stress path. Discrete element simulations (DEM) are performed to investigate the material behaviour along isotropic compression, triaxial compression and constant K deformation. The DEM analysis reveals that each stress path is associated with a characteristic evolution of the coordination number, i.e., the average number of contacts per particle. In turn, the maximum shear modulus is found to be a direct function of the coordination number. In order to include the micro-structure interpretation in the analytical description, a modified version of Hardin’s relation is proposed as a function of coordination number, void ratio and mean pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1869-1883
Number of pages15
Issue number10
Early online date7 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Coordination number
  • Discrete element simulations
  • Maximum shear modulus
  • Resonant column


Dive into the research topics of 'Anisotropic stress state and small strain stiffness in granular materials: RC experiments and DEM simulations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this