Particle alignment and clustering in sheared granular materials composed of platy particles
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By means of molecular dynamics simulations, we investigate the texture and local ordering in sheared packings composed of cohesionless platy particles. The morphology of large packings of platy particles in quasistatic equilibrium is complex due to the combined effects of local nematic ordering of the particles and anisotropic orientations of contacts between particles. We find that particle alignment is strongly enhanced by the degree of platyness and leads to the formation of face-connected clusters of exponentially decaying size. Interestingly, due to dynamics in continuous shearing, this ordering phenomenon emerges even in systems composed of particles of very low platyness differing only slightly from spherical shape. The number of clusters is an increasing function of platyness. However, at high platyness the proportion of face-face interactions is too low to allow for their percolation throughout the system.
KeywordsFlowing Matter: Granular Matter
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