Micromechanical definition of an entropy for quasi-static deformation of granular materials

L. Rothenburg, Nicolaas P. Kruyt

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    A micromechanical theory is formulated for quasi-static deformation of granular materials, which is based on information theory. A reasoning is presented that leads to the definition of an information entropy that is appropriate for quasi-static deformation of granular materials. This definition is based on the hypothesis that relative displacements at contacts with similar orientations are independent realisations of a random variable. This hypothesis is made plausible based on the results of Discrete Element simulations. The developed theory is then used to predict the elastic behaviour of granular materials in terms of micromechanical quantities. The case considered is that of two-dimensional assemblies consisting of non-rotating particles with an elastic contact constitutive relation. Applications of this case are the initial elastic (small-strain) deformation of granular materials. Theoretical results for the elastic moduli, relative displacements, energy distribution and probability density functions are compared with results obtained from the Discrete Element simulations for isotropic assemblies with various average numbers of contacts per particle and various ratios of tangential to normal contact stiffness. This comparison shows that the developed information theory is valid for loose systems, while a theory based on the uniform-strain assumption is appropriate for dense systems.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)634-655
    JournalJournal of the mechanics and physics of solids
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Maximum entropy method
    • Microstructures
    • Constitutive behaviour
    • Granular material
    • IR-80108
    • Elastic material

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