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Structural Characteristics of Three-Dimensional Random Packing of Aggregates with Wide Size Distribution

Authors: Kasthurirangan Gopalakrishnan, Naga Shashidhar


The mechanical properties of granular solids are dependent on the flow of stresses from one particle to another through inter-particle contact. Although some experimental methods have been used to study the inter-particle contacts in the past, preliminary work with these techniques indicated that they do not have the necessary resolution to distinguish between those contacts that transmit the load and those that do not, especially for systems with a wide distribution of particle sizes. In this research, computer simulations are used to study the nature and distribution of contacts in a compact with wide particle size distribution, representative of aggregate size distribution used in asphalt pavement construction. The packing fraction, the mean number of contacts and the distribution of contacts were studied for different scenarios. A methodology to distinguish and compute the fraction of load-bearing particles and the fraction of space-filling particles (particles that do not transmit any force) is needed for further investigation.

Keywords: Computer simulation, three-dimensional particlepacking, coordination number, asphalt concrete, aggregates.

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