A network-based investigation on static liquefaction of sheared granular materials

Granular Matter(2024)

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Abstract
Granular materials may undergo static liquefaction under undrained shearing, which is related to many natural hazards, such as landslides. Despite great efforts, the overall process of static liquefaction remains largely unclear. Numerical undrained shear tests on granular assemblies are performed using the discrete element method, and network-based methods are introduced to investigate the evolution of the contact network. The occurrence of static liquefaction is attributed to the collapse of the contact network induced by contact loss. The weak subnetwork is broken before reaching the liquefaction point, while the strong contact subnetwork remains relatively unchanged. The failure of the strong subnetwork is further investigated by the mechanical features of two important mesoscopic structures, namely force chains and contact loops. The buckling events with buckling ratio exceeding the envelope line and the transition from small loops to large loops significantly destroy the stability of force chains, which causes the failure of force chains and eventually the occurrence of static liquefaction. The relationship of macroscopic stress with microscopic and mesoscopic structures is also identified. The evolution of node degree and global efficiency versus macroscopic stress presents a two-stage development mode, and the buckling events accelerates the transition of the development mode. Our analysis elucidates the occurrence of static liquefaction from microscopic and macroscopic perspectives, which are essential for better prediction and modeling of the catastrophic failures under undrained loading path of granular materials.
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Key words
Granular materials,Static liquefaction,Complex network,Force chains,Contact loops
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