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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2018, Article ID 6783791, 11 pages
Research Article

A Simple Model for Elastic-Plastic Contact of Granular Geomaterials

1School of Civil Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 610031, China
2MOE Key Laboratory of High-speed Railway Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 610031, China
3National Engineering Laboratory for Technology of Geological Disaster Prevention in Land Transportation, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610031, China
4School of Water Resources and Environment, China University of Geoscience (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
5Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Qimin Li; moc.361@ilnimiq

Received 6 February 2018; Revised 13 April 2018; Accepted 3 May 2018; Published 3 June 2018

Academic Editor: Kaveh Edalati

Copyright © 2018 Jian Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We propose a simple elastic-plastic contact model by considering the interaction of two spheres in the normal direction, for use in discrete element method (DEM) simulations of geomaterials. This model has been developed by using the finite element method (FEM) and nonlinear fitting methods, in the form of power-law relation of the dimensionless normal force and displacement. Only four parameters are needed for each loading-unloading contact process between two spheres, which are relevant to material properties evaluated by FEM simulations. Within the given range of material properties, those four parameters can be quickly accessed by interpolating the data appended or by regression functions supplied. Instead of the Von Mises (V-M) yield criterion, the Drucker–Prager (D-P) criterion is used to describe the yield behavior of contacting spheres in this model. The D-P criterion takes the effects of confining pressure, the intermediate principal stress, and strain rate into consideration; thus, this model can be used for DEM simulation of geomaterials as well as other granular materials with pressure sensitivity.