The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Model for granular materials with surface energy forces

TitleModel for granular materials with surface energy forces
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsChang CS, Hicher P-Y
JournalJournal of Aerospace Engineering, ASCE
Start Page43
Date Published10/2009
Keywordsanisotropy, Elastoplasticity, granular material, Moon, Stress-strain relations

In light of environmental differences (such as gravitational fields, surface temperatures, atmospheric pressures, etc.), the mechanical behavior of the subsurface soil on the Moon is expected to be different from that on the Earth. Before any construction on the Moon can be envisaged, a proper understanding of soil properties and its mechanical behavior in these different environmental conditions is essential. This paper investigates the possible effect of surface-energy forces on the shear strength of lunar soil. All materials, with or without a net surface charge, exhibit surface-energy forces, which act at a very short range. Although, these forces are negligible for usual sand or silty sand on Earth, they may be important for surface activated particles under extremely low lunar atmospheric pressure. This paper describes a constitutive modeling method for granular material considering particle level interactions. Comparisons of numerical simulations and experimental results on Hostun sand show that the model can accurately reproduce the overall mechanical behavior of soils under terrestrial conditions. The model is then extended to include surface-energy forces between particles in order to describe the possible behavior of lunar soil under extremely low atmospheric pressure conditions. Under these conditions, the model shows that soil has an increase of shear strength due to the effect of surface-energy forces. The magnitude of increased shear strength is in reasonable agreement with the observations of lunar soil made on the Moon’s surface.