The prediction quality of discrete element method (DEM) models for railway ballast can be expected to depend on three points: the geometry representation of the single particles, the used contact models and the parametrisation using principal experiments. This works aims at a balanced approach, where none of the points is addressed with excessive depth. In a first step, a simple geometry representation is chosen and the simplified Hertz–Mindlin contact model is used. When experimental data of cyclic compression tests and monotonic direct shear tests are considered, the model can be parametrised to fit either one of the two tests, but not both with the same set of parameters. Similar problems can be found in literature for monotonic and cyclic triaxial tests of railway ballast. In this work, the comparison between experiment and simulation is conducted using the entire data of the test, e.g. shear force over shear path curve from the direct shear test. In addition to a visual comparison of the results also quantitative errors based on the sum of squares are defined. To improve the fit of the DEM model to both types of experiments, an extension on the Hertz–Mindlin contact law is used, which introduces additional physical effects (e.g. breakage of edges or yielding). This model introduces two extra material parameters and is successfully parametrised. Using only one set of parameters, the results of the DEM simulation are in good accordance with both experimental cyclic compression test and monotonic directs shear test.
Granular Matter – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 2, 2017
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