Elasticity and Wave Propagation in Granular Materials

    Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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    Particle simulations are able to model behavior of granular materials, but are very slow when large-scale phenomena and industrial applications of granular materials are considered. Even with the most advanced computational techniques, it is not possible to simulate realistic numbers of particles in large systems with complex geometries. Thus, continuum models are more desirable, where macroscopic field variables can be obtained from a micro-macro averaging procedure. However, aspects of microscopic scale are neglected in classical continuum theories (restructuring, geometric non linearity due to discreteness, explicit control over particle properties).

    The focus of this work is the investigation of elastic and dissipative behavior of isotropic, dense assemblies. In particular, the attention is devoted on the effect of microscopic parameters (e.g. stiffness, friction, cohesion) on the macroscopic response (e.g. elastic moduli, attenuation). The research methodology combines experiments, numerical simulations, theory.

    One goal is to extract the macroscopic material properties from the microscopic interactions among the individual constituent particles; for simple enough systems this can often be done using techniques from mechanics and statistical physics. While these simplified models can not capture all aspects of technically relevant realistic grains the fundamental physical phase transitions can be studied with these model systems.

    Complex mixtures with more than one particle species can exhibit enhanced mechanical properties, better than each of the ingredients. The interplay of soft with stiff particles is one reason for this, but requires a more accurate formation of the interaction of deformable spheres. A new multi-contact approach is pro- posed which shows a better agreement between experiments and simulations in comparison to the conventional pair interactions.

    The study of wave propagation in granular materials allows inferring many fundamental properties of particulate systems such as effective elastic and dissipative mechanisms as well as their dispersive interplay. Measurements of both phase velocities and attenuation provide complementary information about intrinsic material properties. Soft-stiff mixtures, with the same particle size, tested in the geomechanical laboratory, using a triaxial cell equipped with wave transducers, display a discontinuous dependence of wave speed with composition.

    The diffusive characteristic of energy propagation (scattering) and its frequency dependence (attenuation) are past into a reduced order model, a master equation devised and utilized for analytically predicting the transfer of energy across a few different wavenumber ranges, in a one-dimensional chain.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • Luding, Stefan, Supervisor
    • Magnanimo, Vanessa, Co-Supervisor
    Thesis sponsors
    Award date26 Sept 2019
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Print ISBNs978-90-365-4860-1
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2019


    • Granular Materials
    • Wave propagation
    • Elasticity
    • Granular Mixture
    • Discrete element modeling
    • Particle simulation
    • Continuum Modeling


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