Wave dispersion in dry granular materials by the distinct element method

Constantine N. Thomas, Sophia Papargyri-Beskou, George Mylonakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Numerical studies are conducted to investigate the existence of wave dispersion in resonant column tests on dry granular soil. To this end, the two-dimensional distinct element method (DEM) in the time domain is employed. The investigations focus on the effect of sample width, voids ratio, viscous damping and wavelength, on propagation velocities of longitudinal harmonic waves in rectangular samples of uniform grains. It is shown that granular materials may exhibit anomalous dispersion that is, wave velocities that increase with increasing excitation frequency. This increase may exceed 20% for squatty samples, but becomes less pronounced for slender samples. Similar findings have been reported in some experiments on granular materials, but have not been systematically explored by numerical means. Results are presented in the form of dimensionless graphs and charts that elucidate the salient features of the problem. Comparisons with findings from gradient elastodynamic and viscoelastic theories are discussed.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)888-897
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Anomalous dispersion
  • Distinct element method
  • Numerical analyses
  • Resonant column tests
  • Wave dispersion
  • Wave propagation


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