Constitutive relations for the isotropic deformation of frictionless packings of polydisperse spheres

Fatih Göncü, Orencio Duran Vinent, Orencio Durán, Stefan Luding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


The isotropic compression of polydisperse packings of frictionless spheres is modeled with the Discrete Element Method (DEM). The evolution of coordination number, fraction of rattlers, isotropic fabric, and pressure (isotropic stress) is reported as function of volume fraction for different system parameters. The power law relationship, with power ≈1/2, between coordination number and volume fraction is confirmed in the jammed state for a broad range of volume fractions and for different (moderate) polydispersities. The polydispersity in the packing causes a shift of the critical volume fraction, i.e., more heterogeneous packings jam at higher volume fractions. Close to jamming, the coordination number and the jamming volume fraction itself depend on both history and rate. At larger densities, neither the deformation history nor the loading rate have a significant effect on the evolution of the coordination number. Concerning the fabric tensor, comparing our DEM results to theoretical predictions, good agreement for different polydispersities is observed. An analytical expression for the pressure as function of isotropic (volumetric) strain is proposed for polydisperse packings, based on the assumption of uniform deformation. We note that, besides the implicit proportionality to contact number density (or fabric), no single power-law is evidenced in the relation between pressure and isotropic strain. However, starting from zero pressure at the jamming point, a linear term with a quadratic correction describes the stress evolution rather well for a broad range of densities and for various polydispersities. Finally, an incremental evolution equation is proposed for both fabric and stress, as function of isotropic strain, and involving the coordination number and the fraction of rattlers, as starting point for further studies involving anisotropic deformations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-586
Number of pages17
JournalComptes rendus mécanique
Issue number10-11
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Constitutive models
  • IR-80378
  • Granular media
  • METIS-272354
  • frictionless granular materials
  • Rattlers
  • Polydisperse
  • Isotropic compression


Dive into the research topics of 'Constitutive relations for the isotropic deformation of frictionless packings of polydisperse spheres'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this