Effect of particle size distribution on 3D packings of spherical particles
1 Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia - 6250 Applied Science Lane, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
2 〈MS E〉 2, MIT-CNRS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA, 02139, USA
3 LMGC, CNRS-University of Montpellier, 163 rue Auguste Broussonnet, 34090 Montpellier, France
Published online: 30 June 2017
We use molecular dynamics simulations of frictionless spherical particles to investigate a class of polydisperse granular materials in which the particle size distribution is uniform in particle volumes. The particles are assembled in a box by uniaxial compaction under the action of a constant stress. Due to the absence of friction and the nature of size distribution, the generated packings have the highest packing fraction at a given size span, defined as the ratio α of the largest size to the smallest size. We find that, up to α = 5, the packing fraction is a nearly linear function of α. While the coordination number is nearly constant due to the isostatic nature of the packings, we show that the connectivity of the particles evolves with α. In particular, the proportion of particles with 4 contacts represents the largest proportion of particles mostly of small size. We argue that this particular class of particles occurs as a result of the high stability of local configurations in which a small particle is stuck by four larger particles.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
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