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Higher-order constitutive relations for granular materials: a multi-scale approach

Project description

Enhanced prediction of granular materials' behaviour, based on their small-scale behaviour

Granular materials made up of many macroscopic particles are commonly encountered in numerous applications, from cement and sand for construction to pharmaceutical powders and nanomaterials for electronics, and more. Of particular interest is the behaviour of granular materials when subjected to large deformations. Both the microscopic properties and the macroscopic behaviours must be adequately represented. The EU-funded ICARUS project is developing multiscale numerical simulations that overcome existing challenges to various methodologies currently employed, enhancing our ability to minimise the risks associated with natural hazards.


The mechanical behaviour of granular materials subjected to large deformations is important in many problems in science and engineering. Current numerical simulation methods using zeroth-order constitutive relations give results that are dependent on the employed mesh size. This problem can be circumvented by using higher-order constitutive relations. However, current higher-order constitutive relations are heuristic, thus in many cases the results are still mesh-size dependent. Using an innovative multi-scale approach, I will constructively challenge current higher-order continuum theories from a fundamental perspective, namely by consideration of the underlying microstructure, in order to obtain mesh-independent solutions. In ICARUS, I will: 1) develop micromechanical expressions for three-dimensional higher-order strain and stress tensors for granular materials, 2) construct higher-order constitutive models within the thermodynamic framework, based on micromechanical analyses of DEM simulations, and 3) demonstrate their capabilities in solving “benchmark” geotechnical large-deformation problems. My investigation results in a computational simulation method that provides valuable insights in large-deformation engineering problems and thus will aid in assessing and reducing risks of natural hazards, with benefits for society. Under the guidance of Prof Kruyt, an internationally-recognised expert on micromechanics of granular materials, and of my high-level international steering committee, I will acquire deep knowledge on granular micromechanics and higher-order continuum theories. This lays a solid foundation for my scientific career. ICARUS paves the way for my ambition to become an outstanding independent researcher on multi-scale studies of granular materials, by significantly strengthening my scientific skills and track record, enhancing my mentoring and teaching capabilities and expanding my international scientific network.



Net EU contribution
€ 187 572,48
Drienerlolaan 5
7522 NB Enschede

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Oost-Nederland Overijssel Twente
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00