Evolution of force chains in shear bands in sands Academic Article uri icon


  • Precise knowledge of the post-peak constitutive response occurring within shear bands in sands is of keen interest in geomechanics, particularly for accurate modelling of progressive failure phenomena. There is mounting evidence that the displacement field within shear bands in sands is non-uniform and distinguished by distinct meso-scale features: namely, particle force chains. Experimental validation of such features will help elucidate the precise nature of the deformation field within shear bands. This paper presents experimental evidence of the kinematic signatures of force chain activity within shear bands in sands. The meso-scale kinematics are quantified from digital-image-correlation-based, grain-scale displacement analyses performed on digital images of specimens undergoing plane strain compression. As in previous work, the data reveal distinct, systematic patterns in the kinematics along the length of the shear band, which serve as indirect evidence of force chain build-up and collapse. Herein, local volume changes are shown to integrate into this pattern. Temporal changes in these patterns with the progress of deformation are also tracked. It is argued that the changes observed in the kinematics from softening to critical state provide a physical, meso-scale explanation for the progress of global stressstrain response through the post-peak regime.

published proceedings

  • Gotechnique

author list (cited authors)


citation count

  • 95

complete list of authors


publication date

  • January 2010