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Shape of particles in DEM

WaiChing Sun's picture

Many granular materials encountered in engineering practice are of irregular shapes that are not essentially smooth or rounded. However, in DEM, grains are idealized as spheres and ellipsoids and their surface are assumed to be sufficiently smooth. As a result, I wonder why there is no model of  irregular shapes and what is the difficulty on implementing such a model? Is there any recent work aimed to simulate grains of irregular shape? Thanks a lot. 


The choice of sphere or circle is due to its convenience for contact tracking, which is one of the most time consuming steps in DEM computation. You may cluster spheres or circles to form irregular shapes. 


 This recent paper may be of interest 


Potential particles: a method for modelling non-circular particles in DEM

G.T. Houlsby, Comp. geotech.





WaiChing Sun's picture

Thanks for the information. It's an interesting paper.





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