Mechanistic modelling of tests of unbound granular materials

Bereket Yohannes, Danielle Tan, Lev Khazanovich, K. M. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Various tests are used to characterise the strength and resilience of granular materials used in the subbase of a pavement system, but there is a limited understanding of how particle properties relate to the bulk material response under various test conditions. Here, we use discrete element method (DEM) simulations with a mechanistically based contact model to explore influences of the material properties of the particle on the results of two such tests: the dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP) and the resilient modulus tests. We find that the measured resilient modulus increases linearly with the particle elastic modulus, whereas the DCP test results are relatively insensitive to particle elastic modulus. The DCP test results are also relatively insensitive to inter-particle friction coefficient but strongly dependent on the particle shape. We discuss strengths and weaknesses of our modelling approach and include suggestions for future improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-598
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Pavement Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 9 2014


  • discrete element method
  • dynamic cone penetrometer
  • granular bases
  • resilient modulus
  • unbound materials


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