Effect of particle breakage on the behavior of soil-structure interface under constant normal stiffness condition with DEM

Pei Wang, Zhenyu Yin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Previous studies show that extensive particle breakage occurs at the soil-structure interface, which may influence the shear strength, but a corresponding comprehensive micro-mechanical analysis, particularly with constant normal stiffness (CNS), is missing. In this study, a series of interface shear tests under CNSs are simulated with the discrete element method (DEM) to understand the role of particle breakage at the interface. Through a rigorous calibration process, the interface model in DEM is first validated with identifying micro-mechanical parameters. Then, by modifying the reference tensile strength of particles, the effect of particle breakage on the behavior of soil-structure interface is quantitatively investigated. All results demonstrate that, particle breakage decreases the dilation, normal stress, shear stress, and shear zone thickness in the interface shear test; particle breakage decreases the peak friction angle while increases the residual friction angle at the interface; and particle breakage decreases soil anisotropy at the interface. In addition, the degree of particle breakage is increased by normal stiffness. The findings of this study may provide deeper insights on the role of particle breakage at the interface with CNS and allow engineers to have a better estimation of the interface strength.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104766
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Constant normal stiffness
  • Particle breakage
  • Shear strength
  • Shear zone
  • Soil-structure interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this