Stable tunneling - A bio-inspired approach

inverse LS-DEM representation of ant tunnels

In this experiment, ants were placed into a soil filled container. This container was imaged three-dimensionally using XRCT (x-ray computed tomography) as the ants dug tunnels. The shape and position of every grain was captured in 2 minute intervals. Pictured here are the grains removed by the ants, in their respective locations before removal. This data has been used to generate a LS-DEM simulation, allowing us to track the effect of interparticle forces on ant behavior.

This work is a collaboration between Robert Buarque de Macedo & ...

Granular Breakage Modeling

Level set splitting image

When particles in a granular material begin to break the mechanics of the material are greatly affected by the new sizes and shapes of the fractured particles. In our lab we have developed the level set splitting technique as the first breakage method that can model any arbitrarily shaped particle or breakage surface. This has large implications in geomechanics and in applications such as mining or drilling.

This work is a collaboration between John Harmon & ....

Sample Acquisition Modeling on Icy Worlds

Cone penetration in ice specimen

A recent focus for NASA has been the search for extraterrestrial life in our solar system. The most likely candidates for life have been planetary bodies with large amounts of water ice such as Europa or Enceladus. The conditions in these worlds often create a granular microstructure for the ice, requiring a discrete approach to capture the importance of ice particle shapes and ice particle dynamics post-breakage. In collaboration with JPL we model the interaction between robots and icy surfaces using the bonded particle method in conjunction with level set discrete element modeling.

This work is a collaboration between John Harmon & ....

Sea-Ice Discontinuum Modeling

Sea-Ice Melting Simulation
Sea-Ice Melting Simulation

Sea ice area and position is significantly affected by its kinematics and atmospheric and oceanic temperature variations.

Full year freezing of the Arctic ocean is estimated to be over around the year 2050, but...

Climate system effects...

This work is a collaboration between Rigoberto Moncada Lopez & ...

Inter-particle force measurements in presence of fluids


Through a hybrid mechanical-optical technique, for the first time we are able to directly measure inter-particle forces in the presence of fluids. We validate our approach based on the Terzaghi's effective stress principle on which the foundation of modern civil engineering is build upon.

This work is a collaboration between Jose Andrade, Zichen Gu, Siavash Monfared , Kimberley Mac Donald & Guruswami Ravichandran