Fibre-reinforcement of granular materials: DEM visualisation and analysis
Mechanical properties of granular materials can be significantly improved by the inclusion of small amounts of short synthetic fibres. This phenomenon has been experimentally studied before by many researchers who have found that the shear strength of a granular material can be significantly improved. This study presents a visualisation of the phenomenon using discrete element method (DEM) simulations of direct shear tests conducted on mixtures of an idealised granular material and randomly oriented fibres. Snapshots showing the deformation of the samples, the velocity vectors of the particles and the force chains produced inside the samples are presented at different stages of the tests. Changes in shear strength and porosity are also illustrated. It was found that the reinforcement produced depends mostly on the rigidity of the fibres.
Keywords: granular material, discrete elements, synthetic fibres, shear strength