Modeling granular particle shape using discrete element method

Nivedita Das, Stephen Thomas, John Kopmann, Colin Donovan, Casey Hurt, Ali Daouadji, Alaa K. Ashmawy, Beena Sukumaran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Particle morphology is an important parameter to improve our understanding of the micromechanical behavior of granular media including granular packing. This study presents a new approach of modeling granular particles of highly irregular shape using Overlapping Discrete Element Cluster (ODEC) algorithms where a series of overlapping spherical discrete elements of equivalent properties are clumped together within the particle boundary such that the resulting outline resembles the outline of actual particles. A skeletonization algorithm is developed in this study in order to automate the ODEC technique. Finally, the three-dimensional particle shapes of varying degrees of angularity are implemented within discrete element modeling software, PFC 3D using the ODEC technique, to validate the methodology by comparing the packing densities obtained with experimental measurements using X-ray Computed Tomography as well as comparing direct shear test simulation results with actual experimental measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeo-Frontiers 2011
Subtitle of host publicationAdvances in Geotechnical Engineering - Proceedings of the Geo-Frontiers 2011 Conference
Number of pages10
Edition211 GSP
StatePublished - May 27 2011
EventGeo-Frontiers 2011: Advances in Geotechnical Engineering - Dallas, TX, United States
Duration: Mar 13 2011Mar 16 2011

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
Number211 GSP
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


OtherGeo-Frontiers 2011: Advances in Geotechnical Engineering
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDallas, TX

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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