Granular Matter

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 607–627 | Cite as

Discrete modelling results of a direct shear test for granular materials versus FE results

  • J. Kozicki
  • M. Niedostatkiewicz
  • J. TejchmanEmail author
  • H.-B. Muhlhaus
Original Paper


The intention of this paper is to present a comparison of the results of discrete element and finite element simulations of a simple shear test for medium dense cohesionless sand. Such a comparison may provide useful information on the limitations and possible advantages of micro-polar continuum models for granular media as compared with discrete element models. To simulate the discrete nature of sand at the micro-level during shearing, the 3D discrete open-source model YADE developed at Grenoble University was used. Contact moments at spheres were assumed to capture the influence of force eccentricities due to grain roughness. Attention was paid to some micro-structural events (such as vortices, force chains, vortex structures, local void ratio fluctuations) appearing in a shear zone and kinetic, elastic and dissipated energies in granular specimen. The results of the discrete element simulations were compared with the corresponding finite element (FE) solutions based on a micro-polar hypoplastic constitutive model for granular material. A satisfactory agreement between discrete and FE results was achieved. Advantages and disadvantages of both approaches are outlined.


Direct shear test Discrete element method Finite element method Micro-polar hypoplasticity Sand 



Research work by the first and third author has been carried out as a part of the Project: “Innovative resources and effective methods of safety improvement and durability of buildings and transport infrastructure in the sustainable development” financed by the European Union (POIG.01.01.02-10-106/09-01). The fourth author would like to acknowledge the support by the ARC grant DP0985662 “The influence of particle shape, fragmentation and compaction on 3D hopper flow”.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Kozicki
    • 1
  • M. Niedostatkiewicz
    • 1
  • J. Tejchman
    • 1
    Email author
  • H.-B. Muhlhaus
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Civil and Environmental EngineeringGdańsk University of TechnologyGdańskPoland
  2. 2.The University of Queensland St LuciaBrisbaneAustralia

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