Failure of cemented granular materials under simple compression - Experiments and numerical simulations

Abstract : We investigate the strength and failure properties of a model cemented granular material under simple compressive deformation. The particles are LECA beads coated by a controlled volume fraction of silicone. The beads are mixed with a joint seal paste (the matrix) and moulded to obtain dense cemented granular samples of cylindrical shape. Several samples are prepared for different volume fractions of the matrix, controlling the porosity, and silicone coating upon which depends the effective particle-matrix adhesion. Interestingly, the compressive strength is found to be an affine function of the product of the matrix volume fraction and effective particle-matrix adhesion. On the other hand, it is shown that particle damage occurs beyond a critical value of the contact debonding energy. The experiments suggest three regimes of crack propagation corresponding to no particle damage, particle abrasion and particle fragmentation, respectively, depending on the matrix volume fraction and effective particle-matrix adhesion. We also use a sub-particle lattice discretization method to simulate cemented granular materials in 2D. The numerical results for crack regimes and the compressive strength are in excellent agreement with the experiments.


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Jean-Yves Delenne, Vincent Topin, Farhang Radjai. Failure of cemented granular materials under simple compression - Experiments and numerical simulations. Acta Mechanica, Springer Verlag, 2009, 205, pp.9-21. <10.1007/s00707-009-0160-9>. <hal-00686994>

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