Effect of cyclic shearing on contact surfaces of geo-materials under constant normal force

Ferreira P., Muturi T., Ekinci A.

ARABIAN JOURNAL OF GEOSCIENCES, vol.14, no.18, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 18
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12517-021-08351-1
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Geobase, INSPEC
  • Keywords: Particle-scale behavior, Repeated loading, Microscopy, Shear, Nonconforming, FRICTION, BEHAVIOR
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


A large amount of research has been done on conforming surfaces in rock joints as well as on the contact between individual grains; however, not much exist in nonconforming contact surfaces subjected to friction, such as flat contacts between ballast particles, stone columns, or riprap; applications that involve the use of coarse gravel subjected to low vertical stresses. Therefore, this article aims to study changes in contact properties between nonconforming flat contacts between large geo-material particles that have been subjected to cyclic shearing under a constant low vertical force, using a direct shear apparatus. Two different silica carbide sandpapers that do not loose particles were used, to simulate different morphologies, a nominally fine and a coarse surface texture. The results show a passivation of the shear strength where a constant value of friction coefficient is reached after around 15 to 17 cycles for all tests, except the tests at the lowest vertical force. For the tests at the highest vertical force, similar friction coefficients were determined for the coarse and fine surfaces. The mass broken during the 10th and 20th cycles was collected at the end of the tests and seemed to show a linear relationship with the vertical force used in the test. Particle analysis, determined via microscopy, shows that the grading is dependent on the initial topography of the surfaces. Despite being subjected to 10 and 20 cycles of shearing, the broken particles look similar in shape with sharp, jagged edges and having different shapes and roundness values with a large variation, indicating that the breakage was not enough to fill in the space between the particles.