Acta Mechanica Solida Sinica

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 562–570 | Cite as

DEM Simulation of Liquefaction for Granular Media under Undrained Axisymmetric Compression and Plane Strain Conditions

  • Guobin Gong
  • Peng Lin
  • Yawei Qin
  • Jun Wei


Based on three dimensional (3D) Discrete Element Method (DEM), the paper presents simulation results of undrained tests on loose assemblies of polydisperse spheres under axisymmetric compression and plane strain conditions using a periodic cell. In the present work, undrained tests were modelled by deforming the samples under constant volume conditions. The undrained (effective) stress paths are shown to be qualitatively similar to experimental results in literature. A microscopic parameter in terms of redundancy factor (RF) is used to identify the onset of liquefaction (or temporary liquefaction), with the condition of RF equal to unity defining the transition from ‘solid-like’ to ‘liquid-like’ behaviour. It is found that the undrained behaviour is governed by the evolution of redundancy factor under both undrained axisymmetric compression and plane strain conditions, and a reversal of deviatoric stress in stress path for medium loose systems occurs due to the fact that the system becomes a structural mechanism (RF < 1) transiently at the microscopic level during the evolution.

Key words

discrete element deviatoric stress periodic cell liquefaction redundancy factor 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    Bishop, A.W., The strength of soils as engineering materials. Sixth Rankine Lecture, Geotechnique, 1966, 16(2): 89–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    Bishop, A.W., Shear strength parameters for undisturbed and remoulded soil specimens. Stress-strain behaviour of soils. In: Proceedings of the Roscoe Memorial Symposium, Parry (eds), Cambridge, UK, 1971: 3–58.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Castro, G., Liquefaction of Sands. PhD thesis, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1969.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Cundall, P.A., A computer model for simulating progressive large-scale movements in blocky rock systems. In: Proceedings of the Symposium of the International Society for Rock Mechanics, Nancy, 1971, 1: 132–150.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Cundall, P.A. and Strack, O.D.L., A discrete numerical model for granular assemblies. Geotechnique, 1979, 29(1): 47–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    Cundall, P.A., Computer simulations of dense sphere assemblies. In: Micromechanics of Granular Materials, Satake and Jenkins (eds), Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1988: 113–123.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Rothenburg, L. and Bathurst, R.J., Micromechanical features of granular assemblies with planar elliptical particles. Geotechnique, 1992, 42(1): 79–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    Ting, J.M., Meachum, L. and Rowell, J.D., Effect of particle shape on the strength and deformation mechanism of ellipse-shaped granular assemblages. Engineering Computations, 1995, 12: 99–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    Lin, X. and Ng, T.T., A three-dimensional discrete element model using arrays of ellipsoids. Geotechnique, 1997, 47(2): 319–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Jensen, R.P., Bosscher, P.J., Plesha, M.E. and Edil, T.B., DEM simulation of granular media-structure interface: effects of surface roughness and particle shape. International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics, 1999, 23: 531–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Powrie, W., Ni, Q., Harkness, R.M. and Zhang, X., Numerical modelling of plane strain tests on sands using a particulate approach. Geotechnique, 2005, 55(4): 297–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Cundall, P.A., A discontinuous future for numerical modelling in geomechanics? Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Geotechnical Engineering, 2001, 149(1): 41–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Thornton, C. and Barnes, D.J., Computer simulated deformation of compact granular assemblies. Acta Mechanica, 1986, 64: 45–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    Ng, T.T. and Dobry, R., Numerical simulations of monotonic and cyclic loading of granular soil. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, ASCE, 1994, 120(2): 388–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    Zhang, L., The Behaviour of Granular Material in Pure Shear, Direct Shear and Simple Shear. PhD thesis, Aston University, UK, 2003.Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    Bonilla, R.R.O., Numerical Simulations of Undrained Granular Media. PhD thesis, University of Waterloo, Canada, 2004.Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    Shafipour, R. and Soroush, A., Fluid coupled-DEM modelling of undrained behaviour of granular media. Computers and Geotechnics, 2008, 35: 673–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    Sitharam, T.G., Dinesh, S.V. and Shimizu, N., Microscopic modelling of monotonic drained and undrained shear behaviour of granular media using three-dimensional DEM. International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics, 2002, 26: 1167–1189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Wanatowski, D. and Chu, J., Static liquefaction of sand in plane strain. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 2007, 44(3): 299–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    Chu, J. and Wanatowski, D., Instability conditions of loose sand in plane strain. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 2008, 134(1): 136–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    Thornton, C., Numerical simulations of deviatoric shear deformation of granular media. Geotechnique, 2000, 50(1): 43–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. [22]
    Mindlin, R.D. and Deresiewicz, H., Elastic spheres in contact under varying oblique forces. Journal of Applied Mechanics, 1953, 20: 327–344.MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    Thornton, C. and Yin, K.K., Impact of elastic spheres with and without adhesion. Powder Technology, 1991, 65: 153–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. [24]
    Thornton, C., Future developments in discrete element approaches. In: An Introduction: Mechanics of Granular Materials, Oda and Iwashita (eds.), Rotterdam: Balkema, 1999: 217–219.Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    Thornton, C. and Randall, C.W., Applications of theoretical contact mechanics to solid particle system simulation. In: Micromechanics of Granular Materials, Satake and Jenkins (eds), Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1988: 133–142.Google Scholar
  26. [26]
    Thornton, C. and Zhang, L., On the evolution of stress and microstructure during general 3D deviatoric straining of granular media. Geotechnique, 2010, 60(5): 333–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. [27]
    Gong, G., DEM Simulations of Drained and Undrained Behaviour. PhD thesis, University of Birmingham, UK, 2008.Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    Poulos, S.J., The steady state of deformation. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, ASCE, 1981, 17(5): 553–562.Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    Alarcon-Guzman, A., Leonards, G.A. and Chameau, J.L., Undrained monotonic and cyclic strength of sand. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, ASCE, 1988, 114(10): 1089–1109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. [30]
    Yamamuro, J.A. and Lade, P.V., Static liquefaction of very loose sands. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 1997, 34: 905–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. [31]
    Rothenburg, L. and Kruyt, N.P., Critical state and evolution of coordination number in simulated granular materials. International Journal of Solids and Structures, 2004, 41: 5763–5774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. [32]
    Gong, G., Thornton, C. and Chan, A., DEM simulations of undrained triaxial behaviour of granular material. Journal of Engineering Mechanics, ASCE, 2012, 138(6): 560–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and Technology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringShantou UniversityShantouChina
  2. 2.School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Shenzhen Graduate SchoolHarbin Institute of TechnologyShenzhenChina
  3. 3.School of Civil Engineering and MechanicsHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  4. 4.Hubei Key Laboratory of Control StructureHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  5. 5.School of Civil EngineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

Personalised recommendations