Granular Matter

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 219–223 | Cite as

A micromechanical model of collapsing quicksand

  • Dirk KadauEmail author
  • José S. AndradeJr.
  • Hans J. Herrmann
Original Paper


The discrete element method constitutes a general class of modeling techniques to simulate the microscopic behavior (i.e.  at the particle scale) of granular/soil materials. We present a contact dynamics method, accounting for the cohesive nature of fine powders and soils. A modification of the model adjusted to capture the essential physical processes underlying the dynamics of generation and collapse of loose systems is able to simulate “quicksand” behavior of a collapsing soil material, in particular of a specific type, which we call “living quicksand”. We investigate the penetration behavior of an object for varying density of the material. We also investigate the dynamics of the penetration process, by measuring the relation between the driving force and the resulting velocity of the intruder, leading to a “power law” behavior with exponent 1/2, i.e.  a quadratic velocity dependence of the drag force on the intruder.


Granular matter Contact dynamics simulations Distinct element method Quicksand Collapsible soil Biomaterial 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Kadau
    • 1
    Email author
  • José S. AndradeJr.
    • 2
  • Hans J. Herrmann
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Building Materials, ETH ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Departamento de FísicaUniversidade Federal do CearáFortaleza, CearáBrazil

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