Simulating shear behavior of a sandy soil under different soil conditions

Mohammad A. Sadek, Ying Chen, Jude Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Understanding of soil shear behavior is very important in the field of agricultural machinery and soil dynamics. In this study, a discrete element model was developed using a simulation tool, Particle Flow Code in Three Dimensions (PFC3D). The model simulates direct shear tests of soil and predicts soil shear behavior, in terms of shear forces and displacements. To determine and calibrate model parameters (stiffness of particles, strength and stiffness of bond between particles), laboratory direct shear tests were conducted to examine effects of soil moisture content and bulk density on shear behaviors of a sandy soil. Three soil moisture levels (0.02%, 13.0%, and 21.5%) and four bulk density levels (0.99, 1.28, 1.36, and 1.50 Mg/m3) were used in the tests. The test results showed that in general drier and denser soil conditions produced higher shear forces. Based on the test results, the bond strengths of the model particles were determined from soil cohesion and internal friction angle. The model particle stiffness was calibrated based on the yield forces from the tests. The calibrated particle stiffness varied from 1.0 × 103 to 8.2 × 103 N/m, depending on soil moisture and density levels. The bond stiffness calibrated was 1.0 × 107 Pa/m for all soil conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Terramechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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