Computational Particle Mechanics

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 59–70 | Cite as

Generation of dense granular deposits for porosity analysis: assessment and application of large-scale non-smooth granular dynamics

  • T. SchruffEmail author
  • R. Liang
  • U. Rüde
  • H. Schüttrumpf
  • R. M. Frings


The knowledge of structural properties of granular materials such as porosity is highly important in many application-oriented and scientific fields. In this paper we present new results of computer-based packing simulations where we use the non-smooth granular dynamics (NSGD) method to simulate gravitational random dense packing of spherical particles with various particle size distributions and two types of depositional conditions. A bin packing scenario was used to compare simulation results to laboratory porosity measurements and to quantify the sensitivity of the NSGD regarding critical simulation parameters such as time step size. The results of the bin packing simulations agree well with laboratory measurements across all particle size distributions with all absolute errors below 1%. A large-scale packing scenario with periodic side walls was used to simulate the packing of up to 855,600 spherical particles with various particle size distributions (PSD). Simulation outcomes are used to quantify the effect of particle-domain-size ratio on the packing compaction. A simple correction model, based on the coordination number, is employed to compensate for this effect on the porosity and to determine the relationship between PSD and porosity. Promising accuracy and stability results paired with excellent computational performance recommend the application of NSGD for large-scale packing simulations, e.g. to further enhance the generation of representative granular deposits.


Non-smooth granular dynamics Granular deposits Sediment Granular packing Packing simulation Porosity 



The authors of this paper are grateful to Ferdinand Habbel B.Sc. RWTH, Dr.-Ing. Tobias Preclik, and Katrin Wieneke M.Sc. RWTH for their support and insightful discussions. Additionally, the authors gratefully acknowledge the computing time granted by the JARA-HPC Vergabegremium and provided on the JARA-HPC Partition part of the supercomputer JUQUEEN [39] at Forschungszentrum Jülich. This work was supported by HPSC-TerrSys (Centre for High-Performance Scientific Computing in Terrestrial Systems), Helmholtz Society.


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Copyright information

© OWZ 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources ManagementRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Chair for System SimulationFriedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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