Investigation of the fabric evolution and the stress-transmission behaviour of sands based on X-ray μCT images

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1858-1869
Journal / PublicationAdvanced Powder Technology
Issue number9
Online published18 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


This paper presents the use of X-ray micro-tomography (X-ray μCT) and image processing and analysis techniques to investigate the stress transmission and buckling of inter-particle contacts within a granular material. A triaxial testing of a miniature Leighton Buzzard sand (LBS) sample was carried out with full-field in-situ X-ray μCT scanning. High-spatial-resolution CT images of the sample were acquired at several loading stages of the test. Image processing and analysis techniques were used to quantify the inter-particle contact evolution (contact gain, contact loss and contact movement), fabric, contact duration and buckling of stress-transmission contacts based on the CT images. The results indicated that contact gain and loss, and contact movement played two competing roles in determining the overall fabric evolution of the sample. Contacts with a longer duration were more likely to orient in the major principal stress direction and form a stress-transmission contact network. A gradual decrease in the buckling rate of the stress-transmission contacts was observed outside of the shear band, and a relatively stable buckling rate was observed within the shear band during the shear. The results suggested that jamming occurred outside of the shear band and that unjamming occurred within the shear band.

Research Area(s)

  • Contact duration, Force chains buckling, Granular materials, Triaxial compression, X-ray μCT