Multiscale modeling of granular materials in application to geotechnical engineering problems

Abstract : Granular materials exhibit a wide spectrum of constitutive features when submitted under various loading paths. Developing constitutive models which succeed in accounting for these features has been challenged by scientists for decades. A promising direction for achieving this can be the multi-scale approach. Through this approach, the constitutive model is formulated by relating material’s macroscopic properties to their corresponding microstructure properties.This thesis proposes a three-dimensional micro-mechanical model (the so-called 3D-H model) taking into account an intermediate scale (meso-scale) which makes it possible to describe a variety of constitutive features in a natural way. The comparison between experimental tests and numerical simulations reveals the predictive capability of this model. Particularly, several simulations are carried out with different confining pressures and initial void ratios, based on the fact that the critical state is quantitatively described without requiring any critical state formulations and parameter. The model is also analyzed from a microscopicview, wherein the evolution of some key microscopic parameters is investigated.Then, a 3D multi-scale approach is presented to investigate the mechanical behavior of a macroscopic specimen consisting of a granular assembly, as a boundary value problem. The core of this approach is a multiscale coupling, wherein the finite element method is used to solve a boundary value problem and the 3D-H model is employed to build the micro constitutive relationship used at a representative volume element scale. This approach provides a convenient way to link the macroscopic observations with intrinsic microscopic mechanisms. Plane-strain biaxial loading conditions are selected to simulate the occurrence of strain localization. A series of tests are performed, wherein distinct failure patterns are observed and analyzed. A system of shear band naturally appears in a homogeneous setting specimen. By defining the shear band area, microstructural mechanisms are separately investigated inside and outside the shear band. Moreover, a second-order work directional analysis is performed by applying strain probes at different stress-strain states along drained biaxial loading paths. The normalized second order work introduced as an indicator of an unstable trend of the system is analyzed not only on the macroscale but also on the microscale.Finally, a second order work analysis in application to geotechnical problems by using the aforementioned multiscale approach is presented. The multiscale approach is used to simulate a homogeneous and a non-homogeneous BVP, opening a road to interpret and understand the micro mechanisms hiding behind the occurrence of failure in geotechnical issues. This multiscale approach utilizes an explicit-dynamic integral method so that the post-peak failure can be investigated without requiring over-sophisticated mathematical ingredients. Thus, by switching the loading method from a strain control to a stress control at the limit state, the collapse of the system can be reflected in an abrupt increase of kinetic energy, stemming from the difference between both internal and external second-order works.
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Hao Xiong. Multiscale modeling of granular materials in application to geotechnical engineering problems. Mechanics of materials [physics.class-ph]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017GREAI096⟩. ⟨tel-02314614⟩

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