Micromechanical analyses of the effect of rubber size and content on sand-rubber mixtures at the critical state

JCL Perez and CY Kwok and K Senetakis, GEOTEXTILES AND GEOMEMBRANES, 45, 81-97 (2017).

DOI: 10.1016/j.geotexmem.2016.11.005

This study presents a series of monotonic drained triaxial tests consisting of mixtures of sand (stiff) and rubber (soft) particles simulated by the discrete element method (DEM). Sets of mixtures were prepared with different rubber size ratio of 1, 2.5 and 5 and contents ranging from 0% to 30% by weight. The numerical samples were sheared up to large axial strains to reach a critical state. The slope of the critical state lines is strongly affected when the rubber size is the same as sand. When rubber size increases, the critical state lines shift downward with little effect on the slope. While it is generally accepted that, for the given range of rubber contents used in the study, the sand-rubber mixture strength increases when adding rubber particles, the results from this study suggest that said strength diminishes as rubber size is incremented. Micro-scale information, including coordination number, geometrical and mechanical anisotropy, was obtained for all the tests. Regardless of the rubber particle size, rubber-sand contacts represent an important contribution to the overall strength of the material; however, the rubber particle size dictates how said contribution takes place. These findings highlight the importance of understanding new geomaterials to practicing engineers that different size ratios and rubber contents have positive or negative effect of strength and deformability and the choice of a sand-rubber mixture has to be based on the project nature. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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