Dynamic simulation of particle packing influenced by size, aspect ratio and surface energy

Xiao Liang Deng, Rajesh N. Davé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The multi-sphere method and JKR model are used in the discrete element method simulation to investigate the effect of the particle size, aspect ratios, and cohesiveness on the packing structure, characterized by porosity, radial distribution function (RDF), coordination number and contact geometry. In the absence of cohesive force, the porosity is nearly invariable with fixed aspect ratio, regardless of the size of the particles. In contrast, as surface energy increases, the porosity increases with decreasing particle size and increasing aspect ratio. The RDF results show that the number of peaks for different aspect ratios changes and show trends similar to the relaxation algorithm, expected for the finer particles. In the case of finer, cohesive particles, the most novel outcome of contact analysis is the existence of single contact, attributed to the formation of a cage structure, which has not been previously reported. The peak position and the width of the contact distributions are affected by higher surface energy because fewer contacts are required to achieve the mechanical equilibrium. Another interesting observation is that higher porosity does not always imply fewer contacts for particles with non-zero aspect ratios and high surface energies. The analysis of the distribution of the contact vector angles is found to better explain increased porosity in spite of higher coordination numbers. The results presented shed light on the packing density and structure, revealing features not easily discerned via experiments, and confirming the important role of the cohesion and aspect ratio in packing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-415
Number of pages15
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Aspect ratio
  • Contact geometry
  • DEM simulation
  • Packing
  • Surface energy
  • particle size


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