Effect of particle friction and polydispersity on the macroscopic stress–strain relations of granular materials

F. Göncü, Stefan Luding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


The macroscopic mechanical behavior of granular materials inherently depends on the properties of particles that compose them. Using the discrete element method, the effect of particle contact friction and polydispersity on the macroscopic stress response of 3D sphere packings is studied. The analytical expressions for the pressure, coordination number and fraction of rattlers proposed for isotropically deformed frictionless systems also hold when the interparticle coefficient of friction is finite; however, the numerical values of the parameters such as the jamming volume fraction change with varying microscopic contact and particle properties. The macroscopic response under deviatoric loading is studied with triaxial test simulations. Concerning the shear strength, our results agree with previous studies showing that the deviatoric stress ratio increases with particle coefficient of friction μ starting from a nonzero value for μ = 0 and saturating for large μ. On the other hand, the volumetric strain does not have a monotonic dependence on the particle contact friction. Most notably, maximum compaction is reached at an intermediate value of the coefficient of friction μ ≈ 0.3. The effect of polydispersity on the macroscopic stress–strain relationship cannot be studied independent of initial packing conditions. The shear strength increases with polydispersity when the initial volume fraction is fixed, but the effect of polydispersity is much less pronounced when the initial pressure of the packings is fixed. Finally, a simple hypoplastic constitutive model is calibrated with numerical test results following an established procedure to ascertain the relation between particle properties and material coefficients of the macroscopic model. The calibrated model is in good qualitative agreement with simulation results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-643
Number of pages15
JournalActa geotechnica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-302048
  • IR-89149


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of particle friction and polydispersity on the macroscopic stress–strain relations of granular materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this