This work is a contribution to the under- standing of the mechanical properties of non-cohesive granular materials in the presence of friction and a continuation of our previous work (Roul et al. 2010) on numerical investigation of the macroscopic mechan- ical properties of sand piles. Besides previous numer- ical results obtained for sand piles that were poured from a localized source (‘‘point source’’), we here consider sand piles that were built by adopting a ‘‘line source’’ or ‘‘raining procedure’’. Simulations were carried out in two-dimensional systems with soft convex polygonal particles, using the discrete element method (DEM). First, we focus on computing the macroscopic continuum quantities of the resulting symmetric sand piles. We then show how the con- struction history of the sand piles affects their mechanical properties including strain, fabric, volume fraction, and stress distributions; we also show how the latter are affected by the shape of the particles. Finally, stress tensors are studied for asymmetric sand piles, where the particles are dropped from either a point source or a line source. We find that the behaviour of stress distribution at the bottom of an asymmetric sand pile is qualitatively the same as that obtained from an analytical solution by Didwania and co-workers (Proc R Soc Lond A 456:2569–2588, 2000).
Geotechnical and Geological Engineering