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A micro finite element model for soil behaviour: Numerical validation

Nadimi, S. & Fonseca, J. (2017). A micro finite element model for soil behaviour: Numerical validation. Géotechnique, doi: 10.1680/jgeot.16.P.163


A micro finite-element (μFE) model capable of handling arbitrary shapes and deformable grains has been developed by the authors. The basis of this μFE model is to use a virtualised soil fabric obtained from micro computed tomography (μCT) of real sand to simulate grain-to-grain interaction in a framework of combined discrete–finite-element method. By incorporating grain deformation into the model, the contact response emerges from the interaction of contacting bodies and each irregular contact area will produce a unique response. A detailed numerical description of grain morphology and contact topology of a natural sand and the subsequent simulation are presented in the original paper. The present study focuses on the numerical validation of the constitutive contact behaviour against existent theories, for a single sphere and an assembly of spheres. The ability of the model to simulate elastic–plastic behaviour making use of the deformability of the grains is demonstrated. The unloading–reloading behaviour associated with the geometrical arrangement of the grains for a granular assembly under triaxial compression is examined in terms of energy dissipation quantities.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: fabric/structure of soils; particle-scale behaviour; numerical modelling; sands
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
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