Particle shape quantification using rotation-invariant spherical harmonic analysis

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-196
Journal / PublicationGeotechnique Letters
Issue number2
Online published30 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


A three-dimensional particle surface can be mathematically represented by a spherical harmonic (SH) coefficient matrix through surface parameterisation and SH expansion. However, this matrix depends not only on the particle shape, but also on the size, position and orientation. This study adopts a rotation-invariant analysis to explore the relationship between SH coefficient matrices and particle shape characteristics. Particle shapes are quantified at different scales (i.e. form, roundness and compactness). These methods are applied to two groups of particles [i.e. Leighton Buzzard sand (LBS) particles and LBS fragments] with distinct shape features. Using rotation invariants, the multi-scale nature of the particle shape is illustrated, and two novel shape descriptors are defined. The results in this paper serve as a starting point for the generation of particle shapes with the prescribed shape features using SHs.

Research Area(s)

  • particle crushing/crushability, sands, particle-scale behaviour