Strong force networks in granular mixtures

N. H. Minh, Y. P. Cheng, C. Thornton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Using the results of 3D discrete element method simulations we study the force transmission through binary mixtures of sand and silt sized spheres under one-dimensional compression. Three types of contact are categorized depending on the size of the two spheres in contact. The contributions of each contact type to the deviator stress are dependent on the proportion of silt sized spheres. We demonstrate that the magnitude of the deviator stress is solely due to the normal and tangential forces at contacts transmitting normal forces greater than a characteristic normal force, which is generally slightly greater than the average normal force. The maximum packing efficiency was obtained with the mixture of 30 % silt sized spheres and this mixture corresponds to a transition point when there are enough silt sized particles to start to separate the sand sized particles from each other and establish contacts between silt sized spheres that contribute to the deviator stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2014


  • Characteristic force
  • Discrete element
  • Force distribution
  • Granular mixtures
  • One dimensional compression
  • Strong force transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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