Analysis of particle corner-breakage effect on pile penetration in coral sand: model tests and DEM simulations

Yu Peng, Zhen Yu Yin, Xuanming Ding

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Although particle corner breakage has been proved to be the primary mode of particle breakage for coral sand, current studies of pile penetration have continued to present the particle fracture breakage mode, causing the mechanism of pile behaviours in coral sand to remain unclear. This study investigates the particle corner-breakage effect on pile penetration in coral sand at both the macro- andmicroscales via indoor pile penetrationmodel testing and three-dimensional discrete element method (DEM) simulations. According to the study findings, DEM simulations revealed that particle corner breakage has amore obvious soil contraction effect than fracture breakage. Thus, this study is the first to explain the particular turn of the pile skin friction in coral sand by the dual effects of breakable corners. Next, relationships between the particle breakage mode and the controversial breakage zone around pile tips have been accomplished. Moreover, the decrease in effective contacts and the change in soil skeleton have been proved to be essential factors behind the narrower penetration-affected width in breakable corner grains. The study suggests that neglecting the particle corner-breakage effect can lead to a hidden danger affecting engineering safety in angular granular soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-765
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • breakable corner
  • coral sand
  • DEM simulations
  • microscopic mechanism
  • pile penetration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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