Comparative study of granular solid-structure interaction in a uni-axial compression system

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Interaction between granular solids and confining structures is an elementary problem encountered in subsurface structural design and bulk solids storing and handling. A classic scenario is uni-axial compression of granular solids in a deformable cylindrical container. Despite being apparently simple in loading condition, the understanding of this scenario remains limited, mainly due to complex interactive deformation between the two components via frictional interfaces. This paper comparatively examines such a uni-axial compression particulate system by a laboratory experiment and two different numerical approaches, namely, continuum finite element method (FEM) and linked discrete-finite element method (linked DEM-FEM). In the continuum FEM approach, two intendedly chosen simple material models, linear elastic and porous elastic models, are attempted. The comparative study reveals that the majority of resultant characteristics show satisfactory agreement amongst the numerical predictions and the experimental measurements. The simple elastic continuum FEM models can hence be a useful alternative in modelling such problems with mild structural flexibility under a monotonic loading scenario. However, precise prediction of some characteristics, such as lateral pressure ratio, may demand more elaborated material model or parameter selection. The enhancements needed for each numerical approach in order to achieve an improved result are further discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2973-2990
Number of pages18
JournalAdvanced Powder Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Comparative study
  • Confined compression
  • Continuum FEM
  • Granular solid-structure interaction
  • Linked DEM-FEM


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