The measure of friction angles for different types of granular material
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The aim of this research is to deepen the knowledge of the role of friction on the dynamics of granular media; in particular the friction angle is taken into consideration as the physical parameter that drives stability, motion and deposition of a set of grains of any nature and size. The idea behind this work is a question: is the friction angle really that fundamental and obvious physical parameter which rules stability and motion of granular media as it seems from most works which deal with particle dynamics? The experimental study tries to answer this question with a series of laboratory tests, in which different natural and artificial granular materials have been investigated in dry condition by means of a tilting flume. The characteristic friction angles, both in deposition (repose) and stability limit (critical) conditions, were measured and checked against size, shape, density and roughness of the considered granular material. The flume tests have been preferred to “classical” geotechnical apparatuses (e.g. shear box) since the flume experimental conditions appear closer to the natural ones of many situations of slope stability interest (e.g. a scree slope). The results reveal that characteristic friction angles depend on size and shape of grains while mixtures of granules of different size show some sorting mechanism with less clear behaviour.
KeywordsRheology Granular material Friction angle Deposition process Yielding process
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The authors are grateful to Stefano Castelli for his competent work with laser scanner.
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