Deformation of Granular Aggregates: Static and Dynamic Bulk Moduli

Arqam Muqtadir, Saud Al-Dughaimi, Jack Dvorkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Sand and glass bead samples were monotonically loaded from 0 to 50 MPa and then monotonically unloaded, all under hydrostatic stress conditions. Sand deformed irreversibly and its porosity loss was permanent. In contrast, the glass bead deformation was almost fully reversible with the initial porosity recovered. During loading, the static bulk modulus in all sand samples increased from 0 to about 0.5 GPa between 0- and 15-MPa stress and remained constant for the remainder of the loading. Such behavior, somewhat unexpected in a granular system, means that sand deforms as a linear elastic body during loading from 15 to 50 MPa. The unloading behavior was very different—the static bulk modulus almost linearly decreased from about 4 GPa at 50 MPa to zero as the stress was reduced. Once again, this behavior was very different from that observed in glass beads, where the static bulk modulus during loading was essentially the same as during unloading and appeared to be a unique function of stress, independent of the direction of its variation. Moreover, the static and dynamic bulk moduli in glass beads, the latter computed from Vp, Vs, and density measured during the loading/unloading cycle, were very close to each other. In contrast, the dynamic bulk modulus in dry sand exceeded the static modulus during unloading by a factor of 1.5 to 2.0. We used a quantitative theory based on contact mechanics and the concept of stress heterogeneity in particulates to analytically match the observed results.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019JB018604
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2019. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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