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Energies 2017, 10(3), 370; doi:10.3390/en10030370

Exploring the Micromechanical Sliding Behavior of Typical Quartz Grains and Completely Decomposed Volcanic Granules Subjected to Repeating Shearing

Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ranjith Pathegama Gamage
Received: 15 January 2017 / Revised: 12 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unconventional Natural Gas (UNG) Recoveries)
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The micromechanical behavior at grain contacts subjected to tangential and normal forces is of major importance in geotechnical engineering research and practice. The development of the discrete element method (DEM) over the past three decades necessitated a more systematic study on the experimental grain contact behavior of real soil grains as DEM simulations use as input tangential and normal load–displacement relationships at grain contacts. In this study, experimental results conducted at the City University of Hong Kong are presented exploring the tangential load–displacement behavior of geological materials. The focus of the study is to explore the possible effect of repeating the shearing test to the same grains on the inter-particle coefficient of friction accounting for the level of the applied normal load. Additionally, the study reports on the frictional behavior of different geological materials including quartz sand grains, denoted as Leighton Buzzard sand (LBS) in the study and completely decomposed volcanic granules denoted as CDV. Quartz grains may find applications as proppant in petroleum engineering, whilst the CDV granules consisted of a material taken from a recent landslide in Hong Kong, whose applications are related to debris flow. Through the micromechanical sliding experiments, the inter-particle coefficient of friction was quantified following shearing paths of about 60 to 200 microns. While at the smallest vertical load of 1 N, there was not observed a notable effect of the repeating shearing for the LBS grains, it was noticed that for small to medium vertical loads, between 2 and 5 N, the repeating shearing reduced the friction at the contacts of the LBS grains. This trend was clear between the first and second shearing, but additional cycles did not further alter the frictional response. However, at greater vertical loads, between 7 and 10 N, the results showed a continuous increase in the dynamic inter-particle friction for the LBS grains with repeating shearing. It was also noticed that at 7 and 10 N of vertical load, there was absence of a peak state in the tangential force–displacement plot, whereas a peak state was observed at smaller loads particularly for the first shearing cycle. These observations might be explained by the possible plowing effects at greater vertical loads which resulted in an increase of the inter-particle coefficient of friction when the shearing test was repeated. For the CDV granules, only the first shearing cycle gave a peak state and, in general, the effect of repeating the shearing was small but with an increase of the inter-particle friction from the first to the second cycle. Overall, during the repeating shearing the LBS grains had a dynamic inter-particle coefficient of friction that ranged between about 0.18 and 0.38, but the CDV granules exhibited much greater friction with values that corresponded to the steady state sliding that ranged between 0.54 and 0.66 . The observed trends in the study might be due to mechanisms that take place at the atomic level and the possible more pronounced distortion of the surfaces for the CDV granules which are much softer than the LBS grains. View Full-Text
Keywords: inter-particle coefficient of friction; micromechanics; quartz; completely decomposed volcanic granules; tangential force; tribology inter-particle coefficient of friction; micromechanics; quartz; completely decomposed volcanic granules; tangential force; tribology

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sandeep, C.S.; Senetakis, K. Exploring the Micromechanical Sliding Behavior of Typical Quartz Grains and Completely Decomposed Volcanic Granules Subjected to Repeating Shearing. Energies 2017, 10, 370.

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