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Pan, Y.-W. & Dong, J.-J. (1999). Geotechnique 49, No.

6, 761775

A micromechanics-based methodology for evaluating the fabric of


granular material
Y. - W. PA N  a n d J. - J. D O N G 
Une approche micromecanique permet de faire
une maquette de la relation tension-allongementresistance d'un materiau granulaire une fois que
ses micro caracteristiques ont ete obtenues. Cependant, il est habituellement difcile de determiner la structure des materiaux granulaires
naturels. Si l'on utilise une maquette micromecanique tributaire de la tension, les proprietes
elastiques peuvent devenir fonction de la structure geometrique et cinetique. De plus, la vitesse
des ondes peut etre apparentee aux proprietes
elastiques. C'est pourquoi, dans cette etude, nous
proposons une methodologie permettant d'evaluer la structure d'un assemblage granulaire a
partir d'un lot de vitesses d'ondes mesurees. La
methodologie contient trois elements : (a) une
maquette elastique micromecanique tributaire de
la tension, (b) une theorie de propagation des
ondes elastiques et anisotropes et (c) une procedure d'optimisation. Nous verions en les calibrant les donnees disponibles sur les vitesses
d'ondes d'un assemblage de boule de verre et
d'un sable de mortier lave. La methodologie sert
ensuite a etudier l'evolution microstructurale du
sable de mortier lave soumis a des tensions biaxiales. On observe alors deux genres de changements de structure : (a) une concentration des
perpendiculaires de contact dans la direction
majeure principale et (b) une structure residuelle
apres des charges/decharges consecutives.

A micromechanics approach can successfully


model the stressstrainstrength relation of a
granular material once the microcharacteristics
of the material have been obtained. However, it
is usually difcult to determine the fabric of
natural granular materials. Using a stressdependent micromechanics model, the elastic
properties can become a function of the geometric and kinetic fabric. Also, the wave velocity
can be related to the elastic properties. Consequently, this paper proposes a methodology for
evaluating the fabric of a granular assembly
from a set of measured wave velocities. The
methodology contains three elements: (a) a
stress-dependent micromechanics elastic model,
(b) an anisotropic elastic wave propagation theory and (c) an optimization procedure. It is
veried by calibrating available wave velocity
data of a glass ball assembly and washed mortar
sand. The methodology is further applied to
study the microstructural evolution of the
washed mortar sand under biaxial stresses. Two
aspects of fabric change can be observed: (a)
concentration of contact normals in the major
principal direction and (b) a residual fabric
after subsequent loading/unloading.
KEYWORDS: anisotropy; constitutive relations; fabric/
structure of soils; microscopy; sands.

However, some difculties do exist in applying the


micromechanics approach for granular materials to
practical engineering problems. Among other difculties, the fabric of a granular material and its
evolution are difcult to determine. If the fabric of
the material is unknown, the micromechanics approaches seem unrealistic and useless for practical
application.
In this paper, the authors propose a methodology
for evaluating the fabric of a granular assembly on
the basis of an elastic model and wave velocity
measurement. The analytical elements involved in
fabric calibration include (a) a stress-dependent
micromechanical elastic model, (b) a wave propagation theory for anisotropic elastic media and
(c) a non-linear optimization procedure. The

INTRODUCTION

On the basis of micromechanics, the microfeatures


of a granular material, including microstructure
and contact force distribution, determine the mechanical behaviour of the material. The development
of micromechanics for granular materials has been
very fruitful over the last decade. The successful
development of the theory offers an attractive approach for understanding the complex behaviour of
geomaterials from the microscopic point of view.
Manuscript received 2 June 1999; revised manuscript
accepted 24 June 1999.
Discussion on this paper closes 30 June 2000; for further
details see p. ii.
 National Chiao-Tung University, Hsinchu.

761

762

PAN AND DONG

methodology is rst veried using test data from a


glass ball assembly (Agarwal, 1992). It is then
applied to evaluate the geometric fabric of washed
mortar sand under various stress states in a largescale triaxial chamber (Lee & Stokoe, 1986). The
evolution of the geometric fabric of the tested
specimen during biaxial loading/unloading is also
described. This study demonstrates that the proposed methodology is potentially useful for calibrating the fabric of a natural granular deposit
under specied stress states.
FABRIC CHARACTERIZATION OF NATURAL
GRANULAR MATERIALS

The denition of `fabric' for a stressed granular


assembly includes the `geometric fabric' and the
`kinetic fabric' (Chen et al., 1988). The geometric
fabric means the microstructure in a granular assembly, while the kinetic fabric indicates the anisotropic distribution of interparticle contact forces.
The fabrics in a granular assembly govern its
mechanical behaviour. Evolution of the geometric
fabric, accompanied by particle sliding, separation
and rotation, results in the non-linear behaviour of
a granular material under a large strain (Chang et
al., 1992). The induced anisotropy of a granular
material related to the fabric evolution has also
been veried experimentally and numerically (e.g.
Oda et al., 1985; Rothenburg & Bathurst, 1989).
In addition, along with the locked-in contact
forces, the residual geometric fabric of a granular
material after loading and unloading contributes to
the stress path dependence of the material (e.g.
Chen & Hung, 1991). The deformation anisotropy
of sands under small strains may also be inuenced
by both the geometric and the kinetic fabric. Consequently, the calibration of the initial fabric and
fabric evolution provides a possible means to understand the mechanical mechanisms of granular
materials from the microscopic point of view.

Fabric of natural granular materials


Geometric fabric. The geometric fabric of a
granular assembly can be categorized into direction-independent and direction-dependent fabrics.
Direction-independent geometric fabrics, such as
void ratio, coordination number and particle size
and shape, can be easily described and evaluated.
The quantitative description of the direction-dependent geometric fabric, resulting from a spatial
distribution of granular particles with random
shape and packing structure, is much more difcult. It is far more challenging to characterize it
under various stress conditions. The important geometric fabrics include the distributions of contact
normal, branch vector (vector connecting the centroids of two adjacent particles) and particle orien-

tation. Among them, the density function of the


contact normal (packing structure) alone can describe the anisotropic nature of a granular assembly
composed of equal-sized spherical particles (idealized granular assembly). The density function of
the contact normal E(, ) can be expressed by a
spherical-harmonic expansion (Chang & Misra,
1990a). Alternatively, Kanatani (1984) proposed a
polynomial expansion in terms of a vector n to
represent the density function of the contact normal E(n). He dened three kinds of fabric tensor,
namely, the rst, second and third kinds of fabric
tensor. Fabric tensors of the second rank have been
widely used to represent the packing structure (e.g.
Kanatani, 1984; Oda et al., 1985; Chang & Misra,
1990a). The third kind of fabric tensor of the
second rank, Dij , is adopted in this paper to
approximate the density function of the contact
normal E(n) as follows:
E(n) (1 Dij n i n j )=4

(1)

Naturally deposited granular materials are rarely


spherical. Many researchers (Rothenburg & Bathurst, 1992; Oda et al., 1985) have shown that the
shape and orientation of particles signicantly inuence the mechanical behaviour of a natural
granular material. Hence, the geometric fabric associated with particles' shape and preferred orientation should not be neglected in a micromechanics
approach for modelling a granular material deposited naturally. Oda et al. (1985) introduced an
anisotropic function l(n) S ij n i n j to take the
source of anisotropy due to a non-spherical granular assembly into account. S ij , a fabric tensor of
the second kind, of the second rank, implicitly
reects the combined effects of the shape and
preferred orientation of the particles of a granular
assembly composed of elliptical particles. With a
similar idea, this work suggests the following
anisotropic distribution function of averaged branch
vector length l(n) to consider the combined effects
of the particles' shape and preferred orientation:
l(n) le (1 Dsij n i n j )

(2)

Dsij , a fabric tensor of the third kind, of the second


rank, approximates the anisotropy of the averaged
branch vector length; le is an equivalent branch
vector length (averaging over each branch vector
length in a specic direction). All components of
Dsij are zero for a granular assembly composed of
either (a) spherical particles or (b) isotropically
distributed non-spherical particles with uniform
size and shape. In these cases, the averaged branch
vector lengths in various directions are identical.
Kinetic fabric. According to numerical simulations and laboratory experiments (Rothenburg &
Bathurst, 1989; Konishi, 1978), the distributions of

METHODOLOGY FOR EVALUATING FABRIC OF GRANULAR MATERIAL

both the averaged normal and the shear contact


force, f n () and f r () (averaging along a direction
from the horizontal axis), in a stressed granular
assembly can be anisotropic in most cases. This
means that the kinetic fabric in a stressed assembly
is often anisotropic. A two-dimensionally anisotropic kinetic fabric can be represented by a Fourier
series expression of the following form
(Rothenburg, 1980):
f cn () f 0n [1 an cos 2( f )]
f

c
r ()

0
n [aw

(3)

at sin 2( r )]

(4)

in which f 0n is the averaged normal contact force


around all contact points; an , aw , at , f and r are
constants. Similarly, a three-dimensionally anisotropic distribution of normal contact force f n (n)
can be represented in the following form:
f n (n) f 0 (1 Dfij n i n j )

(5)

in which Dfij , a fabric tensor of the third kind, of


the second rank, represents the direction-dependent
function of the average normal contact force.
Instead of representing the contact force distribution by a fabric tensor, Chang et al. (1995) used
a static hypothesis to formulate the averaged contact force, in terms of the stress tensor ij and
packing structure of an idealized granular assembly, with the following equation:
c

f j ij A ik nck
c
f j

(6)

c
f nnj

c
f ssj

c
f t tj

in which

is the
contact force
atc the cth contact
plane. The three
c
c
terms f n , f s and f t are the contact forces
along the directions of n, s and t, respectively,
which form the local coordinate system at the
contact point (as shown in Fig. 1). A ik is a tensor
related to the contact normal distribution of the
granular assembly containing M contacts in a
representative volume V ; A ik satises A ik F kq
iq , where Fik (A ik )1 (2rM=V )N ik ; N ik is
the fabric tensor of the rst kind (Kanatani, 1984)
representing the sample mean of the contact normal distribution, for which N ik (2=15)Dik
(1=3) ik . As can be observed from equation (6),

c th contact
3

l 1c
c th contact

2
1

Global coordinate system

s
Local coordinate system

Fig. 1. The global and local coordinate systems

763

the contact force distribution is a function of the


stress state and packing structure.
Determination of fabric of a granular material
Several laboratory techniques have been developed for evaluating the geometric and kinetic fabrics of granular materials. The available techniques
for fabric characterization can be divided into two
categories based on different concepts: (a) collecting and analysing the image data (Oda et al., 1985;
Lee & Dass, 1993; Desrues et al., 1996); and (b)
measuring some physical quantities and relating
these to the microfeatures of the material (Arulmoli
& Arulanandan, 1994; Santamarina & Cascante,
1996). Table 1 lists and appraises the existing
techniques for fabric evaluation.
In situ application of the methods using image
analysis is hardly possible. Moreover, it is nearly
impossible to evaluate the kinetic fabric of a
granular material and its evolution from an image,
unless optically sensitive materials are used. It is
reasonable to postulate that some macroscopic
physical quantities, such as electrical resistance
and wave velocity, may reect the microfeatures
of a granular material in a representative volume.
Hence, it seems possible to calibrate the geometric
or kinetic fabric from measured physical quantities
if a correct correlation can be established. Unfortunately, current data interpretation in these techniques almost always relies on empirical models.
The fabric calibration, in general, is only qualitative. Quantitative application of this method to
evaluate the fabric of a granular assembly is preferable. Generally speaking, the existing methodology for fabric characterization is not yet
satisfactory for engineering practice.
Among the methods listed in Table 1, the wave
velocity measurement is commonly used. The
elastic properties of granular materials can be
evaluated using the well-developed theory of elastic-wave propagation (e.g. Stokoe et al., 1991;
Bellotti et al., 1996). Since the initial elastic stiffness tensor of a granular material depends on its
fabric, it is therefore logical to calibrate the fabric
of a granular material by measuring the velocity of
a wave propagating through the material. Following
this reasoning, this paper presents a micromechanics-based analytical procedure to calibrate the
fabric of a granular material from a set of measured wave velocities with a micromechanics-based
elastic model.
PROPOSED METHODOLOGY FOR EVALUATION OF
FABRIC FROM WAVE VELOCITY

The fabric of a natural granular assembly can be


evaluated from the measured wave velocities by an
analytical procedure containing three basic ele-

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PAN AND DONG

Table 1. Appraisal of available methods for evaluating the fabric of a granular assembly
Data treated

Image for section of


granular assembly

Homogenized
physical quantities

Capability

Limitation{

Solidifying and cutting the


sample into thin sections

(1), (3){

(a), (b)

X-ray computerized tomography Efcient image dataprocessing technique


Photoelasticity method

(1), (3)

(a), (b), (c)

Method

Electrical-resistance
method

Main requirement

Proper model for


interpreting measured
quantities

(1), (2),} (3) (a), (b), (c)


(1)

(d), (e)

Wave velocity method


(1), (2), (3)
(d), (e)
 Capability for fabric evaluation: (1) geometric fabric; (2) kinetic fabric; (3) geometric fabric evolution.
{ (a) Huge effort of processing and analysing data for an assembly containing many particles; (b) difculty of
reconstructing the 3-D structure of a granular assembly; (c) little potential for applying the method to in situ problems;
(d) qualitative evaluation of fabric only; (e) no possibility for evaluating the local heterogeneity of a granular assembly.
{ Valid only with destruction of many samples.
} Valid only with photoelastic materials.

ments: (a) a stress-dependent micromechanicsbased elastic model; (b) a theory of elastic-wave


propagation for an anisotropic material; and (c)
an optimization method. Fig. 2 illustrates the conceptual procedure. From the wave propagation
theory, the wave velocity of an elastic material is
correlated with the elastic properties. Using a
stress-dependent micromechanics model, the elastic
properties can become a function of the geometric
and kinetic fabrics. Consequently, the velocity of a
wave travelling through a granular material can
also be related to its fabric. The three basic
elements of the proposed analytical procedure are
introduced in the following context.
Micromechanics-based elastic model of a nonidealized granular assembly
Chang et al. (1995) derived an upper bound and
a lower estimate of the elastic constants of an
idealized assembly through a static and a kinematic
Wave velocity of granular material

Anisotropic elastic-wave propagation


Optimization

Elastic stiffness

Stress-dependent micromechanics, elastic


Geometric and kinetic fabrics

Fig. 2. Analytical procedure for determining geometric


and kinetic fabrics of a granular material from
measured wave velocity

hypothesis, respectively. The kinematic hypothesis


corresponds to strain localization, and the static
hypothesis corresponds to stress localization.
Chang & Misra (1990b) showed that the uniformstrain theory is valid for a granular assembly under
low-amplitude cyclic loading. As a consequence,
the elastic stiffness of the assembly can be derived
from the kinematic hypothesis. The elastic stiffness
C ijkl of an idealized granular assembly (Chang et
al., 1995; Chang & Misra, 1990a) containing M
contacts in a representative volume V can be
derived as follows:

M
1X
M
C ijkl
lci k cjl lck
4rn i k cji n k E(n) d
V c
V
(7)
lci

ln il

2rnci

Here

is the branch vector connecting the two adjacent particles' centroids at the cth
contact point, where r is the radius of the spherical
particles; l is the branch vector length; and n il is
the unit branch vector, which is identical with the
contact normal nci . The term k cjl k cn ncj ncl k cs scj scl
k ct lcj lcl is the local contact stiffness; k cn , k cs and
k ct are the contact stiffnesses along the directions
of n, s and t, respectively. E(n) is the density
function of the contact normal in the n direction.
:
The integration
2 ( )E(n) d stands for the double
integration 0 0 (:)E(, ) sin d d.
For a non-idealized granular material, the branch
vector length of each contact is no more a constant
2r. Inserting the directionally averaged branch
vector length l(n) into equation (7) directly, the
elastic stiffness becomes a function of E(n) and
l(n). The directionally averaged branch vector
length l(n) accounts for the combined effects of
shape and orientation of a non-spherical-particle
assembly. Consequently,

765

n
[l(n)]2 n p k jl [l(n)]n q E(n) d

METHODOLOGY FOR EVALUATING FABRIC OF GRANULAR MATERIAL

C ijkl

 

M
n

l i k jl l k E(n) d
V

 

M
n

l(n)l(n)n il k jl (l)n lk E(n) d (8)


V

inn which l i l(n)n il is the branch vector;


k ij [l(n)] is the averaged local contact stiffness of
the grouped contact points in the n direction with
an averaged branch vector length equal to l(n).
For a non-spherical-particle assembly, the unit
branch vector n il is no more identical to the
contact normal n i . A transformation tensor r pqik
can be further introduced into equation (8), with
n il n lk r pqik n p n q ; r pqik , a fourth-rank tensor,
accounts for the averaged angular deviation of the
branch vector direction and the contact normal
direction in the n direction. As a consequence,
the elastic stiffness C ijkl can be expressed by the
following equation:
C ijkl
 

M
n
[l(n)]2 n p k jl [l(n)]n q r pqik E(n) d
V

(9)
In this work, E(n) and l(n) describe the
geometric fabrics of a non-idealized granular
material; they are represented by equations (1)
and (2), respectively. Hence, the direction-dependent geometric fabrics of a non-idealized granular
material are described by the three fabric tensors
Dij , Dsij and r pqik . Dij accounts for the anisotropic contact normal distribution; Dsij accounts for
the shape and orientation of the particles; and
r pqik accounts for the directional deviation of the
branch vector direction and the contact normal
direction. The directional deviation between the
contact normal and the branch vector may result
in a reduction in the global elastic stiffness of
the granular assembly. It is, in fact, very difcult
to determine the effect of this deviation rigorously without applying some means of microscopic observation or discrete-element simulation.
Rothenburg & Bathurst (1992) formulated the
stress homogenization (averaging over the contact
forces) of a biaxially loaded elliptical-particulate
assembly. In their formulation, the deviation between the contact normal and the contact vector
(the vector connecting the contact point and the
particle centroid) is neglected. They found that
the discrepancy between the discrete-element
method simulated results and the calculated results for the stress was acceptable before failure.
The present work does not attempt to explore
this aspect further. Neglecting the directional
deviation between the contact normal and branch
vector, equation (9) reduces to

C ijkl

M
V



(10)
For a non-spherical-particulate assembly, equation (10) should be regarded as only an approximation to the elastic stiffness since the angular
deviation between the contact normal and the
branch vector is ignored. It should also be noted
that the intermediate scale is not taken into account
in the proposed model; it is assumed that the
intermediate scale does not exist and does not
develop during loading.
The total contact number per unit volume
(M=V ) in equation (10) can be estimated from the
equation suggested by Oda et al. (1982)
M
3N t

V
(1 e)(8r3e )

(11)

in which N t is the average coordination number, e


is the void ratio of the assembly and re is an
equivalent radius. Originally, Oda et al. (1982)
dened re as the average radius of all particles in
the graded spherical assembly. In the present work,
re is modied into an equivalent radius in order to
account for arbitrary particle shapes. The equivalent radius re satises vs (4=3)r3e Pv , in which
vs is the volume of solid and Pv is the total
particle number. Oda (1977) found that N t does
not depend on the grain size distribution. Experimental data also show that N t has a good correlation with the void ratio. Chang et al. (1989)
proposed an empirical equation e 1:66
0:125N t correlating the void ratio and the average
coordination number. This empirical equation is
adopted for calculating the averaged coordination
number required in equation (11).
It is shown in equation (10) that the elastic
stiffness tensor of a non-idealized granular material
derived from the micromechanical elastic model is
a function of the geometric fabric. Furthermore, a
micromechanical elastic model can also take the
effects of stress level and contact force anisotropy
(i.e. the kinetic fabric) into account if a stressdependent contact stiffness is adopted in equation
(10). A stress-dependent contact law produces
stress-dependent elastic moduli of granular materials. The HertzMindlin contact theory is often
adopted for correlating the relative contact displacement and the contact force (Chang et al.,
1989). Although the real contact mechanism is
extremely complicated (Mindlin & Deresiewicz,
1953; Seridi & Dobry, 1984), a simple but approximate local constitutive law seems acceptable in
practice for engineering application. Consequently,
the HertzMindlin contact theory is adopted in this
work. The quantities k n (n) and k t (n), the averaged
local normal and shear contact stiffness of the

766

PAN AND DONG

grouped contact points in the n direction, are


expressed as follows (Chang et al., 1989):
k n (n) C1 [ f n (n)]12
k r (n) C2 1

f r (n)
f (n) tan

(12)

!
k n k n (n)

(13)
in which f n (n) and f r (n) are the averaged normal
and shear contact forces, respectively; is the
stiffness ratio; Gs and s are the shear modulus
and Poisson's ratio, respectively, of the solid making up the particles; and is the inter-particle
frictional angle. According to the HertzMindlin
contact theory, C1 (1=2)(16=9) R [Gs =(1
s )]2 and C2 2(1 s )=(2 s ); 1=3.
The relative curvature of each contact R equals
r=2 for an ideal granular assembly with a particle
radius equal to r. For a non-spherical granular
assembly, the relative curvature of each contact
depends on the neighbouring particle size, shape
and contact point. In the present work, a directiondependent equivalent relative curvature R (1=4)l
(1=4)l(n) is proposed to account for the effects
of the particle shape and preferred orientation of
a non-ideal granular assembly on the contact
stiffness.
Both the kinetic (directional contact force distribution) and the geometric fabric can be approximated by fabric tensors. Although it is possible to
calibrate the kinetic and geometric fabrics simultaneously by the proposed method of calibration,
only the parameters related to the geometric fabric
are obtained by optimized calibration in the subsequent development. Therefore, the contact force
distribution has to be estimated. Except in isotropic
compression, it is difcult to derive an analytical
solution for the contact force distribution in a nonidealized granular assembly. The contact force distribution can be evaluated incrementally using a
proper micromechanics model (Chang et al.,
1991). However, the integration procedure is rather
time-consuming. The evolution of the packing
structure must also be considered; this results in
further difculties. For practical purpose, a simple
approach is preferable. Neglecting the directional
deviation between the contact normal and branch
vector, the present work approximates the averaged
contact force distribution by the following equation. This equation is modied from equation (6):
f j [l(n)]

1
ij Bik n k
(M=V )l(n)

(14)

in which f j (l) is the contact force in the n direction with a branch vector length equal to l;
f j (l) f n (l)n j f s (l)s j f t (l)t j . The directional
branch vector length is represented by equation (2)

in order to calculate the averaged normal contact


force in various directions. Bik is a tensor relating
to the contact normal distribution of the granular
assembly and satises Bik N kq iq , where N ik
(2=15)Dik (1=3) ik is the fabric tensor of the rst
kind. Once the stress state and geometric fabric are
both determined, the contact force can be evaluated
from equation (14).
It is worth mentioning that the real distribution
of contact forces in a stressed granular assembly is
stress path dependent (Chen & Hung, 1991) and
highly complicated. The formulation of the present
micromechanics model is based on the kinematic
hypothesis, while the estimation of the contact
force distribution is based on a static hypothesis.
This aspect may result in a discrepancy between
the estimated contact force and the real one. The
contact force distribution formulated in equation
(14) should be regarded as only an estimation of
the kinetic fabric and used only for evaluating the
stress-dependent local stiffness. Besides, equation
(10) neglects the antisymmetrical stress and strain.
It should be noted that stress and strain symmetry
(commonly true in continuum mechanics) is not
necessarily true when particle rotation is taken into
account. If the particle rotation is not consistent
with the global rotation eld of the granular
assembly, an antisymmetric part of the strain is
present.
Wave propagation in an anisotropic elastic
material
The
Christoffel
equation
C ijkl nwj nwl k
rd v2 i 0 correlates the wave velocity v and the
stiffness tensor C ijkl of an anisotropic elastic material. In the Christoffel equation, nw is the direction
of the wave velocity, rd is the material density and
is the polarization of the wave. By introducing
the Christoffel tensor ik C ijkl nwj nwl , the Christoffel equation can be deduced as follows:
det(ik rd v2 ik ) 0

(15)

Since natural granular deposits are often transversely isotropic, further elaboration on the relation
between the elastic stiffness tensor and the wave
velocity of a transversely isotropic elastic material
will follow (White, 1965). By using the Voigt
notation, the stress increment and strain increment
can be expressed as m [ 11 , 22 , 33 ,
12 , 13 , 23 ]T and n [11 , 22 , 33 ,
12 , 13 , 23 ]T respectively. Therefore, the
global constitutive law can be expressed as
m E mn n , in which m, n are the tensor indices
16. The indices 4, 5 and 6 denote the planes 12,
23 and 13, respectively. Fig. 1 illustrates the coordinate system. For a transversely isotropic granular material with axis 3 as the symmetrical axis,
the number of independent elastic constants re-

METHODOLOGY FOR EVALUATING FABRIC OF GRANULAR MATERIAL

duces to ve (i.e. E11 , E33 , E12 , E23 and E66 ). The


other elastic constants are E22 E11 , E13 E23 ,
E55 E66 , E44 (1=2)(E11 E12 ) and E14
E24 E34 E56 0. The elastic wave velocity of
a transversely isotropic material depends on the
inclination angle between the rotation symmetry
axis and the wave propagation direction. From
equation (15), one primary-wave velocity Vp, and
two shear wave velocities Vsh, , Vsv, of the elastic
wave in the direction inclined at an angle to the
rotation symmetry axis can be expressed as follows:
p
Vsh, (E66 cos2 E44 sin2 )=rd
(16)
q
p
Vp, (b b2 4c)=2rd
(17)
q
p
Vsv, (b b2 4c)=2rd
(18)
in which
b (E11 sin2 E33 cos2 E66 )
2

(19)

c (E11 sin E66 cos )


3 (E66 sin2 E33 cos2 )
2

(E12 E66 ) cos sin

(20)

Vsh, and Vsv, are dened in Fig. 3. In the following, the elastic wave is assumed to propagate and
be polarized along the principal axes. S ij represents
the shear wave velocity, in which the rst index i
denotes the principal axis of wave propagation and
the second index j denotes the principal axis of
Direction of
wave propagation
3

V sv,

V p,

Directions of
particle motion

V sh,

Fig. 3. Directions of primary and shear wave propagation and polarization through a transversely isotropic
material

767

particle motion. For example, S23 is the shear


velocity of the wave propagating along axis 2 and
polarized along axis 3. Pi represents the primarywave velocity, in which the index i refers to the
axis of wave propagation. In the remaining section,
granular materials are assumed to be transversely
isotropic.
Optimization method for parameter calibration
A non-linear optimization aims to search for the
optimized value of a non-linear object function
fxg. Among many different non-linear optimization methods, the LevenbergMarquardt method
has been well established and the required computing routines are readily available (e.g. IMSL). This
method is suitable for locating the global optimum
(Fletcher, 1987).
The object function fxg in this case is dened
as a non-linear `error square' function, which is
the squared sum of the differences between n
(model) calculated data points U i (fxg) (i 1, n)
and n measured data points of wave velocity V i
(i 1, n) as follows:
fxg

n
X
[U i (fxg) V i ]2

(21)

i1

in which fxg is the vector containing the undetermined parameters. The non-linear optimization,
then, aims to search for a set of unknown parameters fxg corresponding to a series of U i (fxg)
(i 1, n) such that the object function (i.e. the
squared-error function) is a minimum.
Calibration of the geometric fabric of transversely
isotropic granular materials
The velocity calculated on the basis of the
proposed micromechanics-based model depends on
several parameters including Dij , Dsij , e, re , , ,
Gs and . Among them, the fabric tensors Dij
and Dsij are responsible for determining the anisotropy of the wave velocity, while the other ones
mainly affect the magnitude of the velocity. The
model deserves particular elaboration for the determination of Dij and Dsij .
With the proposed three-element procedure, the
calibration of the packing structure and other microfeatures of natural granular materials from a
data set of measured wave velocities becomes
possible. This paper focuses on the determination
of the fabric tensors of transversely isotropic granular assemblies. The change in the geometric fabric
of a granular assembly due to stresses is also
explored. For a transversely isotropic granular material with axis 3 as the symmetrical axis, the
components of the fabric tensor must satisfy
Dij 0 and Dsij 0 for i 6 j, and D11

768

PAN AND DONG

Ds11

and
Ds22
parameters, D33

D22 (1=2)D33
(1=2)Ds33 .
Hence, only two
and Ds33, are
necessary for describing a material's fabric. A
higher D33 means that more contact normals are
along axis 3 than other directions. A negative Ds33
implies most particles have their longest axes
parallel to the 12 plane. The absolute value of
Ds33 increases with (a) increasing atness and
slenderness of the particles and (b) increasing
concentration of the longest axis on the 12 plane.
VERIFICATION OF THE PROPOSED
METHODOLOGY

The experiment results obtained by Agarwal


(1992) were adopted to verify the proposed
methodology for calibrating the fabric of a granular
assembly. In the laboratory, Agarwal measured the
primary and shear wave velocities propagating
along different directions of a glass ball assembly
contained in a triaxial cubical box. Since a glass
ball is spherical, all components of the particleshape-induced fabric tensor Dsij are zero. The
properties of the glass ball assembly used for the
analysis are as follows: specic gravity 2:472,
Poisson's ratio s 0:21, equivalent radius
re 0:118 mm and void ratio e 0:5744. Theoretically, the parameters and are 1=3, and
C2 2(1 s )=(2 s ) is 08827 according to the
HertzMindlin contact theory. As Agarwal did not
include void ratio updating during a stress change,
the void ratio is assumed constant in the calibration. This assumption should not seriously affect
the calibration D33 , since the change in void ratio
will not signicantly affect the anisotropy of the
wave velocity. The void ratio, however, determines
the contact number per unit volume (M=V ). Its
inuence on the stiffness and velocity is mainly
isotropic. This assumption, however, can be waived
if the correct void ratio is determined for each
stress stage.

Calibration of packing structure


V i denotes the measured sets of primary wave
velocity. Agarwal measures wave velocity in seven
conning pressures (ranged from 276 to 1932
kPa). In each conning pressure level, he measures
wave velocities in ve different directions. In total,
35 wave velocities are measured. The target parameters fxg include the fabric tensor D33 for the
transversely isotropic material and the shear modulus Gs of the particle.
First, the packing structure corresponding to
each constant conning pressure is calibrated. The
measured data V i (i 1, 5) in equation (21) is the
ve wave velocities in different directions for a
constant conning pressure. The primary wave
velocity in different directions under a same con-

ning pressure, U i (fxg) (i 1, 5), in equation (21)


can be calculated by equation (16)(20) with the
stiffness tensor that depends on the microfeatures
of the particulate assembly. Figure 4 lists the
calibrated packing structure D33 for various conning pressures.
Next, 35 measured wave velocities, all together,
are treated as the measured data V i (i 1, 35) in
equation (21) for calibration regardless of the
difference in conning pressure. Here, the packing
structure of the glass ball assembly remains constant under different conning pressures. The calibrated results are D33 0:415 and Gs
14:99 GPa. They are obtained using 1=3.
If and increase 10%, the calibrated D33 will
decrease less than 2% and vice versa. The D33
from calibration is not largely affected by and .
To ensure the global optimal, nine pairs of D33 and
Gs were taken as the initial guesses for searching
the optimal. The converged answers using different
initial guesses appear fully consistent. The calibrated fabric is adopted in the next sub-section to
calculate the primary and shear wave velocities.
Comparison of measured and calculated wave
velocities
Figure 4 shows the comparison between the
measured and calculated results. The solid lines
indicate the calculated primary-wave velocities in
various directions. Different symbols indicate the
measured velocities under different conning pressures. It can be observed that the calculated results
match the experiment results well enough if appropriate microfeature parameters are used. The packing structure calibrated from all 35 measured wave
velocities was used to demonstrate the velocity
anisotropy. Fig. 5 presents the data; the vertical
velocity normalizes the wave velocities along various directions. Both the measured and the calculated primary-wave velocities along different
directions in the sample are shown in Fig. 5 for
comparison.
Figures 6 and 7 present the measured and
calculated shear wave velocities S12 , S13 and S32 .
The calculated results were obtained by using the
packing structure calibrated from the 35 measured
primary-wave velocities. Since the glass ball assembly is assumed to be transversely isotropic, the
calculated shear velocity S13 S32 is referred to
Shv . The velocity S12 of shear waves propagating
and polarized on the isotropic plane is referred to
Shh . The calculated anisotropic ratio Shv =Shh is
1062; it does not change with the conning pressure, since D33 remains constant in this case
(because the void ratio is assumed constant). The
measured Shv =Shh (ranging from 1060 to 1042 for
conning pressures of 2761936 kPa) matches
the calculated result well. The slightly decreasing

769

METHODOLOGY FOR EVALUATING FABRIC OF GRANULAR MATERIAL

700

Curves 1 to 7 correspond to confining pressures 27.6 to 193.2 kPa

Primary-wave velocity along vertical axis: m/s

600

Calibrated fabric tensor


0.512
7
0.342
6
.
5
0 486
4
D
5
0.307
3
33
2
0.317
1
0.344
.
0 430

500

400

Measured data (Agarwal, 1992)


Confining pressure 5 27.6 kPa

300

Confining pressure 5 55.2 kPa


Confining pressure 5 82.8 kPa

200

Confining pressure 5 110.4 kPa


Confining pressure 5 138.0 kPa

100

Confining pressure 5 165.6 kPa


Confining pressure 5 193.2 kPa
0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

Primary-wave velocity along horizontal axis: m/s

Fig. 4. Comparison between measured and calculated primary-wave


velocities using the calibrated packing structure

1.1

Calculated using calibrated fabric tensor D33 5 0.415


Fitted from averaged data

Normalized primary-wave velocity along vertical axis

1.0
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5

Measured data (Agarwal, 1992)


Confining pressure 5 27.6 kPa

0.4

Confining pressure 5 55.2 kPa


Confining pressure 5 82.8 kPa

0.3

Confining pressure 5 110.4 kPa


Confining pressure 5 138.0 kPa

0.2

Confining pressure 5 165.6 kPa


Confining pressure 5 193.2 kPa

0.1

Averaged from measured data

0.0
0.0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.1

Normalized primary-wave velocity along horizontal axis

Fig. 5. Comparison between measured and calculated normalized


primary-wave velocities using the calibrated packing structure

770

PAN AND DONG

450
Measured shear wave velocity (Agarwal, 1992)

S 32
S 13

Shear wave velocity: m/s

400

S 12

350

300

250
0

25

50

75

100

125

150

175

200

175

200

Isotropic confining pressure: kPa

Fig. 6. Measured shear wave velocity

450
Calculated shear wave velocity

S hv (5 S 32 5 S 13)
S hh (5 S 12)

Shear wave velocity: m/s

400

350

300

250
0

25

50

75

100

125

150

Isotropic confining pressure: kPa

Fig. 7. Calculated shear wave velocity using the calibrated packing


structure

METHODOLOGY FOR EVALUATING FABRIC OF GRANULAR MATERIAL

tendency of the measured anisotropy for increasing


conning pressure may imply that the actual anisotropy of the packing structure does slightly change
with the conning pressure (this arises from a
slight change in void ratio).
The measured velocity ratio P3 =Shv is 164,
deduced from the averaged data under different
conning pressures, while the calculated velocity
ratio P3 =Shv is 152, by using the theoretical value
of C2 and the parameters calibrated from the
primary-velocity data. The overestimation of the
shear wave velocity may originate from the overestimation of the shear stiffness from C2 0:8827,
deduced from the HertzMindlin contact theory.
An overestimated C2 implies an overestimated contact stiffnes ratio . In the following, VP and VS
denote the primary and shear wave velocities,
respectively. On the basis of a micromechanics
model (Chang et al., 1995) derived from a kinematic hypothesis and elastic
wave theory, p
VP =VS
p
( P3 =Shv ) is equal to 2 for 1:0 and 3 for
0, for a granular assembly with an isotropic
packing structure. Obviously, the ratio between the
velocities of primary waves and shear waves depends on the selected value of . The lower the
value of chosen, the higher the value of VP =VS
obtained will be.
Although is a predominant factor inuencing
VP =VS , it is by no means a sensitive factor for
calibrating the packing structure of a granular
assembly. The evolution of contact shear forces can
contribute to the non-linearity and irrecoverable
strains of a granular material. The stiffness ratio
may account for this locked-in stress effect. However, the sensitivity of deserves special concern
for fabric calibration. The sensitivity of to the
anisotropy of the primary-wave velocity is further
examined in the following. Here, the normal contact stiffness is assumed constant and stressindependent. For D33 0:44, the velocity ratio
VP,90 =VP,0 changes by only 2:5% when drops
from 08827 to 00. For 0:8827, VP,90 =VP,0
changes by 13:8% when D33 rises from 00 to
044. This reveals that is an insensitive parameter
for determining the velocity anisotropy of primary
waves and for calibrating the fabric of granular
materials from the measured anisotropy of the
primary-wave velocity.
The discrepancy between the measured and calculated shear wave velocities shown in Figs 6 and
7 can be reduced by choosing a lower C2 (than the
theoretical value 08827). As a reference for calibration, a 10% reduction in C2 results in a 17%
decrease in D33 and a 147% decrease in Gs (for
the case illustrated). It appears that the change in
C2 does not alter the calibrated magnitude of D33
signicantly, nor does C2 affect the anisotropy of
the stiffness and wave velocity substantially. Actually, C2 can also be a calibrated parameter if both

771

the primary and the shear wave velocities are available.


To explore the convergence of the calibrated
parameters, the changes in the object function
fxg due to individual perturbations of D33 and
Gs were evaluated. The calibrated result (i.e.
D33 0:415 and Gs 14:99 GPa) was taken as
the centre of the perturbation. It was noted that
fxg increases by 4%, for a 10% increase in D33 ,
while fxg increases by 74%, for a 10% increase
in Gs . The parameter Gs appears relatively sensitive for fxg.
EVALUATION OF FABRIC EVOLUTION

The role of fabric evolution in the mechanical


behaviour of granular materials has been discussed
in the foregoing. It is possible to use the proposed
methodology to study the fabric evolution of a
granular material. For purpose of demonstration,
the geometric fabrics corresponding to various
stress states were back-calculated from the measured shear wave velocity (Lee & Stokoe, 1986). In
total, 16 stress stages in the experimental programme of Lee & Stokoe (1986) were selected for
the fabric calibration. The stress stages numbered
from 1 to 9 were a series of isotropic loadings and
unloadings. The stress stages from 13 to 19 were a
series of biaxial loadings and unloadings. The
evolution of the calculated microstructure was analysed. The contact stiffness ratio was assumed to
be zero since is insensitive to the fabric calibration. The properties of the washed mortar sand in
the large-scale triaxial chamber (Lee & Stokoe,
1986) were as follows: specic gravity 2:67;
Poisson's ratio s 0:25; equivalent radius re
0:23 mm; void ratio e 0:64. Since the horizontal
plane (the 12 plane) is assumed to be the symmetric plane for a transversely isotropic material,
the measured velocities were averaged as Shh
(1=2)(S12 S21 ) and Shv (1=4)(S13 S23 S31
S32 ).
Calibration of the microfeatures of an isotropically
compressed specimen
The measured velocity of shear waves propagating through an isotropically compressed specimen
was rst used to calibrate the microfeatures of the
washed mortar sand. For the stress stages 15, the
applied isotropic stress started from 690 kPa and
was raised to 1034, 1379, 2069 and 2758 kPa
subsequently. The stress stages 69 were an unloading series corresponding to the isotropic stresses 2069, 1379, 1034 and 690 kPa in sequence.
In the calibration, the measured velocity for loading and unloading under the same stress state was
averaged. In total, ten measured data points were
analysed. The measured data Vi (i 1, 10) (in

772

PAN AND DONG

equation (21)) contain ve values of Shh and ve


of Shv . Three parameters fxg (in equation (21))
were calibrated using the proposed procedure. They
were (a) the fabric tensor D33 representing the
contact normal distribution, (b) the shear modulus
Gs of the sand particles and (c) the coefcient .
The particle-shape-induced fabric tensor Dsij describes the particle shape and the distribution of
preferred particle orientations. Since the material is
assumed to be transversely isotropic, a single Ds33
was taken as the independent parameter representing the distribution. A negative value of Ds33
implies that most particles have their longer axis in
the horizontal direction.
Table 2 lists the calibrated results using the
measured shear wave velocities (under conning
pressures of 692758 kPa) corresponding to various assumed values of Ds33 . The calibrated result
for equals 0301, somewhat smaller than the
value derived from the Hertz theory, i.e. 0333.
The parameter controls the stress dependence of
the shear wave velocity according to VS
(12)=2
C2 0
for isotropic granular materials under
an isotropic stress 0 . From the linear regression
of the experimental results, is about 031 for
stress stages 19, fairly close to the calibrated
value 0301 (Lee & Stokoe, 1986). Fig. 8 shows
the calculated and measured shear wave velocities
under
various isotropic stress conditions.
Jamiolkowski et al. (1995) collected data for wave
velocity (Lee & Stokoe, 1986; Stokoe et al., 1991;

Bellotti et al., 1996); they found that, for isotropically stressed sand in the laboratory, the velocity of
shear waves polarized in the horizontal plane is
larger than for waves polarized vertically. It is seen
from Fig. 8 that the proposed micromechanics
model correctly describes the above-mentioned
phenomenon. The parameters and Gs calibrated
from the data of stress stages 19 were treated as
constants in the subsequent study for evaluating
the contact normal evolution of the sand particles
during loading and unloading.
Contact normal evolution during loading/unloading
Calibration of the microfeatures from the wave
velocity measured during biaxial loading/unloading
tests on the same specimen was then carried out.
Stress stages 1316 were lateral loading (denoted
by LL), while stress stages 1619 were lateral
unloading (denoted by LU). The axial stress (in
the direction of axis 3) remained constant
( 275:8 kPa) during both LL and LU. For LL, the
lateral stress (in the direction of axis 1 and axis 2)
increased from 1034 to 2785 kPa; for LU, the
lateral stress decreased from 2785 to 1034 kPa.
Both the experimental results of Oda et al.
(1985) and the numerical simulation of Rothenburg
& Bathurst (1992) show that the preferred particle
orientation of a non-spherical assembly does not
change signicantly during loading/unloading unless the stress state is close to failure. Hence, the

Table 2. Calibrated microfeatures of washed mortar sand under isotropic compression (0 69275:8 kPa)
Hypothetical shapeinduced fabric
Calibrated parameters

Ds33

0:1

0:2

0:3

Gs : GPa

D33

833
0301
0.646

829
0301
0.419

828
0301
0.188

830
0301
0.040

Shear wave velocity: m/s

380
360

Calculated shear wave velocity

340

Measured S hv

320

Measured S hh

300
280
260
240
220
50

60

80

100

200

300

400

500

Isotropic stress: kPa

Fig. 8. Measured and calculated velocities of shear waves propagating


through the washed mortar sand specimen under isotropic compression

773

METHODOLOGY FOR EVALUATING FABRIC OF GRANULAR MATERIAL

contact normal distribution of the specimen for


stress stages 1319 were calibrated assuming various constant values of Ds33 , unchanged during
loading and unloading. Fig. 9 presents the calibrated results. The various symbols denote different
assumed values of Ds33 . Fig. 10 presents the measured and calculated shear wave velocities. The
calculated shear wave velocities are shown with
error bars for various values of Ds33 .
Figure 9 reveals two interesting phenomena.
First, it is generally known that the contact normals
concentrate progressively in the major principal
direction of a stressed granular assembly. Fig. 9
clearly displays this trend for both LL and LU
conditions. Next, the contact normal distribution of
stressed sand is dependent on the stress history. A
`residual fabric' can be observed in Fig. 9 for a
sand specimen subjected to subsequent loading/
unloading, no matter what Ds33 is assumed. This
observation agrees with the conclusion drawn by
Chen & Hung (1991) from numerical tests.
Figure 9 also reveals another interesting aspect.
If the sandy material is modelled as an idealized
granular assembly (i.e. Ds33 0), a denser distribution of contact normals in the horizontal direction
than in the vertical direction (Ds33 , 0) is required
for reproducing the measured results. However, this
does not agree with Feda's (1982) nding. Feda
(1982) reported that most of the contact planes
orientate horizontally for deposited granular materials. The condition Ds33 , 0:1 seems more reasonable since the calibrated packing structure shows
more contact normals in the vertical direction for
stress ratios less than 075, which is a likely range
of in situ K 0 conditions.
The introduction of an anisotropic branch vector
length distribution is not just a mathematical trick.
Arthur & Menzies (1972) summarized studies on
the inherent anisotropy of sands and concluded that
the particles of a granular sediment tend to have
their shortest axes in accordance with the gravity

direction. Their conclusion supports the proposed


representation of the fabric.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

Evaluating the fabric of a granular material is


essential for studying its mechanical behaviour
from a microscopic viewpoint. A micromechanicsbased methodology has been developed for characterizing the microstructure of a granular material.
This methodology contains three basic elements:
(a) a micromechanics-based elastic model, (b) a
theory of elastic-wave propagation for an anisotropic material and (c) an optimization method. The
micromechanical elastic model has two features.
First, the adoption of a force-dependent contact
stiffness accounts for the stress dependence of the
elastic properties. The contact force distribution is
approximated, using a localization process, from
the global stress. Next, the shape and preferred
orientation of non-spherical assemblies is described
by the distribution of branch vector length. Consequently, the micromechanics model presented here
can simulate the velocity anisotropy of a granular
material by considering the anisotropic distribution
of microstructure and contact force.
For verication, the proposed methodology was
used to determine the contact normal distribution
of a glass ball assembly. The fabric of washed
mortar sand was also evaluated. This demonstrates
that the fabric of a natural granular material can be
calibrated from the measured wave velocities. The
fabric evolution of the granular material was also
evaluated. Two interesting aspects of fabric change
can be observed: (a) a concentration of contact
normals in the major principal direction, and (b) a
residual fabric after subsequent loading/unloading
sequences. The enhancement of the characterization of the fabric of natural granular materials
makes the microstructural continuum approach
more attractive and applicable.

Calibrated fabric tensor D 33

0.6
LL

0.4
0.2

20.3
20.2

0.0
20.2

20.1
0.0

20.4
20.6
0.0

LU

Shape-induced
s
fabric tensor D 33

0.1

0 .2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.1

Stress ratio (minor principal stress/major principal stress)

Fig. 9. Contact normal evolution of washed mortar sand specimen


under lateral loading and unloading

774

PAN AND DONG

Shear wave velocity: m/s

380
360

Measured (symbols) and calibrated results for shear wave velocity


for different shape-induced fabrics (error bars indicate standard deviation)

340

Measured S hv

320

Measured S hh

300
280
260
240
220
50

60

80

100

200

300

400

500

Minor principal stress parallel to axes 1 and 2: kPa


(a)

Shear wave velocity: m/s

380
360

Measured (symbols) and calibrated results for shear wave velocity


for different shape-induced fabrics (error bars indicate standard deviation)

340

Measured S hv

320

Measured S hh

300
280
260
240
220
50

60

80

100

200

300

400

500

Minor principal stress parallel to axes 1 and 2: kPa


(b)

Fig. 10. Measured and calculated velocities of shear waves propagating


through the washed mortar sand under (a) lateral loading; (b) lateral
unloading

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The National Science Council of the Republic


of China nancially supported this work under
Contract NSC86-2621-E009-12. This support is
gratefully acknowledged.

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