Granular Matter

, 21:52 | Cite as

Induced force chain anisotropy of cohesionless granular materials during biaxial compression

  • Longlong Fu
  • Shunhua ZhouEmail author
  • Peijun Guo
  • Shun Wang
  • Zhe Luo
Original Paper


This paper investigates the induced anisotropy and multi-scale shear characteristics of granular materials by quantifying force chain distribution in two-dimensional specimens of rigid particles under quasi-static loading. A new criterion is proposed and implemented into the existing algorithm which can effectively solve the identification instability of force chains at branching and merging points. Force chain is then classified into three categories according to the variation of force chain quantity and average stress with segment length: stable segments, meta-stable segments and unstable force chain segments. The stable force chain segments dominate the load-bearing behavior of the granular materials. The directional distribution of force chain segments is more anisotropic and more sensitive to the applied stress than contact normal vectors, which show obvious local peaks in both vertical and horizontal directions at high deviatoric stress. Therefore, the probability density of directional distribution of force chains needs to be described by the first two deviatoric components of Fourier expansion with deviators A1 and A2, which are indicators reflecting the intensity of the induced-anisotropy of the granular materials. As the absolute values of A1 and A2 increase, the induced anisotropy is more significant. The final shear failure types are determined by the quantities of force chains orienting in two potential shear failure directions: if there is an obvious difference between the quantities of the two directions, single shear band occurs within the direction with less force chains; otherwise, conjugated double shear bands occur and lie in the two potential shear failure directions.


Granular materials DEM Force chains Induced anisotropy Shear band 



The NSFC (National Natural Science Foundation of China) Program, Grant Nos. 51708423 and 51761135109 are greatly appreciated for providing financial support for this research. The authors also thank Mr. Zhekan Tian for his assistance in preparation of the figures.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shanghai Key Laboratory of Rail Infrastructure Durability and System SafetyTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Road and Traffic Engineering of the Ministry of EducationTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  4. 4.Institute of Geotechnical EngineeringUniversity of Natural Resources and Life SciencesViennaAustria

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