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Computers and Concrete
  Volume 6, Number 2, April 2009 , pages 133-153

On the usefulness of discrete element computer modeling of particle packing for material characterization in concrete technology
P. Stroeven, J. Hu and M. Stroeven

    Discrete element modeling (DEM) in concrete technology is concerned with design and use of models that constitute a schematization of reality with operational potentials. This paper discusses the material science principles governing the design of DEM systems and evaluates the consequences for their operational potentials. It surveys the two families in physical discrete element modeling in concrete technology, only touching upon probabilistic DEM concepts as alternatives. Many common DEM systems are based on random sequential addition (RSA) procedures; their operational potentials are limited to low configuration-sensitivity features of material structure, underlying material performance characteristics of low structure-sensitivity. The second family of DEM systems employs concurrent algorithms, involving particle interaction mechanisms. Static and dynamic solutions are realized to solve particle overlap. This second family offers a far more realistic schematization of reality as to particle configuration. The operational potentials of this family involve valid approaches to structure-sensitive mechanical or durability properties. Illustrative 2D examples of fresh cement particle packing and pore formation during maturation are elaborated to demonstrate this. Mainstream fields of present day and expected application of DEM are sketched. Violation of the scientific knowledge of to day underlying these operational potentials will give rise to unreliable solutions.
Key Words
    concrete; concurrent-algorithm; dispersion; microstructure; discrete element modeling.
P. Stroeven, J. Hu and M. Stroeven : Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, the Netherlands

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