Effect of particle morphology and contacts on particle breakage in a granular assembly studied using X-ray tomography

Zeynep Karatza, Edward Andò, Stefanos-Aldo Papanicolopulos, Gioacchino Viggiani, Jin Y. Ooi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The macroscopic response of a geomaterial is entirely determined by changes at the particle scale. It has been established that particle crushing is affected by particle size, shape and mineral composition and initial density; and the initiation of breakage has often been related to the onset of yielding. Encouraged by the success of X-ray tomography in revealing particle-scale mechanisms of deformation, we present our findings regarding the onset of particle breakage, deriving from our study of 3D images of a dry granular assembly undergoing crushing. We propose two bespoke image analysis algorithms, which allow us to track breakage and identify contacts prior to breakage. The combination of the two algorithms, along with the high resolution of the 3D images enables us for the first time to track breakage of individual particles, identify different breakage modes for each particle and simultaneously study the effect of particle morphology and coordination number on breakage. Three different breakage types are identified: chipping, splitting and fragmentation. We have found that particle heterogeneity and sphericity mainly contribute to fragmentation, whereas the coordination number also affects chipping. The confining stress state within the particles with high coordination number made them more resistive to fragmentation, whereas particles with low coordination number mainly undergo fragmentation. The shearing of the particles at their contact points, leads to local stress concentrations resulting into surface chipping. Finally, we discuss the relation between the initiation of breakage and yielding, showing that some breakage occurs before the point where yielding is traditionally defined.
Original languageEnglish
Article number44
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number3
Early online date23 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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