Multi-scale Study of Grain Crushing in Granular Soils

Giulia Guida*, Francesca Casini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Grain crushing is a phenomenon occurring at the grain-scale along areas of stress or strain concentration where the stress imposed exceeds particle strength. The grain fragmentation determines fine generation and a local densification of the material, which may induce contractions, settlements, decrease of hydraulic conductivity, etc. This work reports the results of a wide experimental program aimed to link the macroscopic behavior of granular materials subjected to oedometric compressions to grain crushing accounting for the micro-structural features of the single grains, e.g. size and shape. The grain scale was assessed by the use of the X-ray tomography facilities to characterize the material and quantify what is occurring along deformation. Tests performed included one-dimensional compression tests on dry samples till high pressure (~50 MPa) in order to observe significant amount of crushing. The material adopted is the Light Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA), an artificial granular material characterized by light, porous and crushable grains. The compressibility curves has been linked to the grain crushing phenomena upon loading. The beginning of comminution is ruled by the strength of the single particle and by the initial assortment of size and shape. As the micro-structure influences the grain crushing and the material response, vice versa the grain crushing influences particles size and shape. The collected experimental evidence is finally used to develop a simple constitutive model able to predict the evolution of material porosity with loading.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenges and Innovations in Geomechanics - Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of IACMAG - Volume 1
EditorsMarco Barla, Alice Di Donna, Donatella Sterpi
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9783030645137
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event16th International Conference of the International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics, IACMAG 2021 - Turin, Italy
Duration: 5 May 20218 May 2021
Conference number: 16

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
ISSN (Print)2366-2557
ISSN (Electronic)2366-2565


Conference16th International Conference of the International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics, IACMAG 2021
Abbreviated titleIACMAG 2021


  • Compressibility
  • Fragmentation
  • Grain size distribution
  • Granular matter
  • Porosity
  • n/a OA procedure


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