Simulation of heterogeneous breakage in sand based on full-field X-ray tomography measurements

Dawei Xue, Ghassan Shahin, Dawa Seo, Xilin Lü, Giuseppe Buscarnera*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This work investigates onset and progression of spatially distributed particle breakage in sand by taking into account heterogeneities induced by material properties and boundary conditions. The role of porosity and mean particle size on compressive yielding are taken into account within the framework of Breakage Mechanics. In addition, initial spatially distributed heterogeneities of these state variables are replicated through a Computerized-Tomography to Finite-Element (CT-FE) mapping scheme. The concept of representative elementary volume (REV) is utilized to extract local material state variables from digital images and assign them to corresponding Gauss integration points. Analysis of CT images and constitutive parameter calibration indicates that the mechanical response and breakage evolution are sensitive to porosity fluctuation, while being nearly unaffected by changes in mean particle size within the considered range of variability for this parameter. Full-field FE numerical simulations accounting for friction at sample-platen and sample-ring interfaces are conducted to assess their influence on the distribution of breakage sites. The results show that use of both spatial heterogeneities and boundary friction provide a satisfactory match between data and simulations. It was also shown that the concentration of breakage near the loading platen is promoted by arching processes induced by ring-sample friction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104746
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • CT-FE mapping scheme
  • Continuum breakage mechanics
  • Full-field simulations
  • Particle breakage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Computer Science Applications


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