A Study of the Particle-Level Fabric and Morphology of Granular Soils Under One-Dimensional Compression Using Insitu X-ray CT Imaging

Materials (Basel). 2018 May 29;11(6):919. doi: 10.3390/ma11060919.


The particle morphology and fabric of a granular soil influence its mechanical behavior. This study focuses on the evolution of the particle-level fabric and morphology of a uniformly graded sand sample subjected to one-dimensional compression up to 64 MPa. The microstructural changes with increased stresses were captured using in situ high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (X-ray CT) imaging. The processed images of particles were separated using the Monash Particle Separation Method (MPSM) for subsequent fabric and morphological analyses. The variations of various fabric parameters were studied using the separated particle volumes. New methods of assessing the morphology and crushability of particles were introduced including a comprehensive algorithm for determining coordination number, branch and contact normal vectors. Results of all fabric parameters were analyzed and discussed with reference to observed changes. Potential mechanisms were identified and relevant correlations were developed where warranted.

Keywords: X-ray CT imaging; fabric; granular soils; morphology; one-dimensional compression.