|Numerical analysis of capillary bridges and coalescence in a triplet of spheres |
Auteur(s): Miot Marie, VEYLON Guillaume, Wautier Antoine, Philippe Pierre, Nicot François, Jamin F.
(Article) Publié: Granular Matter, vol. 23 p. (2021)
Ref HAL: hal-03462432_v1
Exporter : BibTex | endNote
The behavior of a natural soil is known to change substantially in presence of water under unsaturated conditions, due to additional capillary forces. Water can be absorbed by hygroscopic soil particles (such as clay), or remains at the surface of solid grains (sand, silt) and forms either a discontinuous (pendular regime) or a continuous phase (funicular regime), depending on the water content of the soil. Capillary bridges exist solely between pairs of grains at small water contents, giving rise to simple capillary force expressions and straightforward subsequent modeling. For larger water contents, these generic capillary bridges progressively merge into more complex coalesced bridges involving several grains (i.e. at least three) and whose description remains little known. In the present study, a numerical approach based on surface energy minimization isproposed to compute capillary forces for assemblies of two or three grains. The methodology is frst validated for a standard capillary bridge between two grains by comparison both with previous experiments and with other alternative theoretical and numerical approaches. The method is next extended to a triplet of grains within a wide range of water content (or equivalently reduced water volume) during imbibition, to switch from uncoalesced to coalesced bridges. Eventually, the infuence of contact angle, surface tension and gravity on the capillary force, the volume of coalescence and the morphology of the bridge as well is investigated. The present study paves the way for the implementation of capillary efects in micromechanical models relying on mesostructures composed of a few grains.