How the Packing Density and Penetration Resistance is Influenced by Particle Shape: DEM Modelling of Plate Penetration in Granular Media

  • van Selm, Gerrit Jan (Delft University of Technology)
  • Mohajeri, Mohammed Javad (Delft University of Technology)
  • Shi, Hao (Delft University of Technology)
  • Schott, Dingena L (Delft University of Technology)

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Granular materials play a crucial role in various geotechnical, mining, and bulk-handling applications. Understanding their mechanical properties is essential for optimal use in these industries. Traditional experimental methods like Cone Penetration Test (CPT) and open pile testing have limitations on their repeatability and offer little insight into the contact mechanics. The Discrete Element Method (DEM) is a powerful tool for investigating and simulating granular material behaviour at the element scale and provides deeper understanding in geometry-material interactions. However, due to computational costs, spherical particles are often preferred, though they may not always capture realistic particle interactions. In the current study, the packing density and the penetration resistance of particle beds with different particle shapes, including sphere, multi-spheres and polyhedrons, are compared using a plate penetration test modelled in DEM. Sensitivity analyses are performed for sliding friction, consolidation pressure, and Particle Size Distribution (PSD). Results indicate that polyhedral shapes show lower penetration resistance compared to spherical and multi-spherical shapes. Sliding friction has the most significant impact on resistance, while consolidation pressure has minimal effect on porosity. The study highlights the importance of particle shape in granular media modelling and emphasizes the need for further research in this area.