A unified constitutive model for pressure sensitive shear flow transitions in moderate dense granular materials
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionScientific Reports. 2021, 11 (1), . 10.1038/s41598-021-99006-4
Granular shear flows exhibit complex transitional regimes that are dramatically affected by the pressure level and shear stress state. New advances in granular shear tests at low pressure have enlightened the understanding of the two granular shear flow transitions: between quasi-static and moderate shear flows, and between steady-state and transient shear flows. However, a unified constitutive model to describe these two transitions is yet to develop. In this work, a simplified and unified model is proposed based on innovative triaxial shear flow tests, using two dimensionless physical variables. Model results validated against experimental data suggest that the shear flow transition between a quasi-static to a moderate Isotach type flow state is highly pressure-dependent. At extremely low pressure, the granular viscosity becomes the primary mechanism, suppressing the quasi-static mechanism even under “quasi-static” shear rates. In transient to steady state granular flow transitions, a mobilized shear stress ratio or mobilized friction coefficient between zero and the critical state ratio for consolidated granular packings is taken into consideration. This is coupled with the mechanism of granular viscosity. These findings have not been discussed before and are of great relevance to granular mechanics as well as space and earthquake engineering.