Mechanistic Modeling of Unbound Granular Materials


Bereket Yohannes, Kimberly Hill, Lev Khazanovich

June 2009

Report no. Mn/DOT 2009-21

Several tests are used for characterizing unbound granular materials for pavement applications. The California Bearing Ratio (CBR), resilient modulus (MR), Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) tests are three of the most common tests used for this purpose. The objective of this research is twofold. The first is to develop numerical models for these three tests. The second is to investigate relationship between basic material properties, boundary conditions, and test results, ultimately, to develop a physics-based correlation between these tests. A 3-D discrete element method (DEM) based model is adapted to simulate these tests. Good agreement is observed between the results of the simulations and sample numerical and experimental studies on granular materials. The DEM code is used to determine effects of aggregate shape, coefficient of friction, gradation, stiffness and other details on test results. The model is also used to investigate statistics of inter-particle interaction between the granular particles.

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