Relating the response of idealized analogue particles and real sands
This paper considers the use of non-convex particles, made up of overlapping spheres, in three-dimensional discrete element methods. The potential to use quantitative shape analysis to relate the idealized particle shapes used in discrete element simulations to real sand grains is explored. The overlapping sphere cluster particles are shown to be capable of capturing the measured primary shape characteristics of real sands. A framework to model vacuum plane strain compression tests using the distinct element method was developed. The simulation method was validated using physical test data from a test on steel balls. A simulation carried out using a specimen containing overlapping sphere cluster particles was seen to exhibit a stiffer response and higher peak stress ratios than an equivalent specimen with spherical particles.