Discrete element simulation and theoretical calculation of flowability of cementitious suspensions containing attapulgite

Junzheng Xiang, Hengrui Liu, Shipeng Zhang, Hao Lu, Hao Yue Fan, Chong Shi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to clarify the mechanism of attapulgite affecting the macroscopic flowability of cementitious suspension, and to propose effective physical parameters that can characterize the flowability of attapulgite suspension. The discrete element method was used to simulate and analyze the evolution of microscopic parameters during dynamic and static flows of attapulgite suspension. The internal structural characteristics of the suspension were accurately represented using two essential parameters: Water film thickness (WFT) and bonding strength coefficient (ζ). A detailed analysis was undertaken to investigate the relationships between WFT, ζ and flow parameters. The results indicated that the adhesive rolling resistance linear model can well simulate the flowability of attapulgite suspension, the simulated and experimental results of flow expansion varied from 0.4% to 4.9%, and the flow velocity varied from 2.05% to 15.07%. The principal microscopic parameters significantly affecting the flowability of the suspension were the attractive range (D0) and the maximum attractive force (F0). Attapulgite influenced F0 and D0 by increasing the number of contact bonds and altering the distribution of contact normals, thereby resulting in subsequent adjustments to the flow parameters. The correlation coefficients of WFT and ζ with flow extension and flow velocity were 0.847, 0.864, 0.838 and 0.807, respectively, proving that WFT and ζ accurately reflected the F0 and D0 between particles of the suspension structure. WFT and ζ were the key indicators for determining the flow parameters of attapulgite suspensions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107580
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Attapulgite
  • Bonding strength coefficient
  • DEM method
  • Flowability
  • Water film thickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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