Local dilation and compaction of granular materials induced by plate drag
The response of granular materials to plate drag is numerically studied using a large-scale discrete element method (DEM) simulation. The effect of the initial volume fraction of the materials on the drag force acting on the plate is examined. The results show that a volume-fraction-dependent bifurcation occurs in the force; in an initially loose granular bed, the force reaches an approximately constant value as the plate advances, while in an initially dense bed, the force oscillates with a large amplitude. The force oscillation is attributed to the periodic evolution of a shear band formed only in the dense bed. The behaviors of the drag force and shear band, which depend on the initial volume fraction in the DEM simulation, are in close agreement with those obtained experimentally in previous studies [N. Gravish et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 128301 (2010); Phys. Rev. E 89, 042202 (2014)]. Further analysis using the DEM simulation shows that the formation of the shear band is explained by the local dilation and compaction of the granular materials induced by the plate drag. Independent of the volume fraction, materials dilate in a wedge-shaped flow region that formed in front of the plate. In the loose bed, a compacted front builds up ahead of the flow region. Because the compacted front advances into a weaker undisturbed region, the flow region behind the front can constantly advance. On the other hand, in the dense bed, the materials largely dilate in a disturbed flow region formed in front of the plate. Because a denser undisturbed region is more stable compared to the flow region, the flow region is strongly confined. As a result, the shear strain is localized along a flow boundary between these regions, and the shear band develops.
Keywords: Dry granular materials, Granular packing