Rheology with nonconvex particles

B Saint-Cyr, J-Y Delenne, C Voivret, F Radjai and Ph Sornay



By means of contact dynamics simulations, we investigate the shear strength and internal structure of granular materials composed of 2D nonconvex aggregates. We find that the packing fraction first grows as the nonconvexity is increased but declines at higher nonconvexity. This unmonotonic dependence reflects the competing effects of pore size reduction between convex borders of aggregates and gain in porosity at the nonconvex borders that are captured in a simple model fitting nicely the simulation data both in the isotropic and sheared packings. On the other hand, the internal angle of friction increases linearly with nonconvexity and saturates to a value independent of nonconvexity. We show that fabric anisotropy, force anisotropy and friction mobilization, all enhanced by multiple contacts between aggregates, govern the observed increase of shear strength and its saturation with increasing nonconvexity. The main effect of interlocking is to dislocate frictional dissipation from the locked double and triple contacts between aggregates to the simple contacts between clusters of aggregates. This self-organization of particle motions allows the packing to keep a constant shear strength at high nonconvexity.


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Eta = 0.2



Eta = 0.4



Eta = 0.6