DEM investigations of internal erosion: Grain transport in the light of micromechanics

A. Wautier, F. Nicot, S. Bonelli
International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
dem, fluid grain interactions, Force chain, grain transport, Granular material, suffusion

Internal erosion by suffusion can change dramatically the constitutive behavior of granular materials by modifying the fabric of granular materials. In this study, the effect of an internal fluid flow on granular materials is investigated at the material point scale using the numerical coupling between a discrete element method (DEM) and a pore‐scale finite volume (PFV) coupling scheme. The influence of the stress state and the hydraulic loading (direction and intensity) on the occurrence of grain transport in dense widely graded granular samples is thus investigated and interpreted in terms of micromechanics. In particular, it is shown that grain transport is increased when the macroscopic flow direction is aligned with the privileged force chain orientation. The stress‐induced microstructure modifications are shown to influence the transport distances by controlling the number of rattlers.

Keywords: DEM, fluid grain interactions, force chain, grain transport, granular material, suffusion,

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