Micromechanical Investigation of Particle-Size Effect of Granular Materials in Biaxial Test with the Role of Particle Breakage

Pei Wang, Zhen Yu Yin, Zi Yi Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Understanding the effect of particle size on the shear strength of granular materials is important for geotechnical design and construction. However, previous studies show contradicting results on the relationship between particle size and shear strength. Additionally, the effect of particle breakage on this relationship has not been fully revealed. In this study, a series of biaxial tests have been simulated with the discrete element method to explore the particle-size effect of sand considering the role of particle breakage. The sand specimens have parallel particle-size distributions. The sequential breakage model has been used to simulate particle breakage, which is a combination of replacement and cluster methods. The main conclusions of this study are: (1) the relationship of peak shear strength and particle size depends on the crushability of particles and relative density of specimens; (2) the particle size and crushability have a very slight effect on the residual shear strength; and (3) at the microscale, the relationship between shear strength and particle size is positively related to the friction utilization ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04021133
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Crushability
  • Discrete element method
  • Granular media
  • Particle breakage
  • Particle-size effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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