Force chains in monodisperse spherical particle assemblies: Three-dimensional measurements using neutrons
The full triaxial stress state within individual particles in a monodisperse spherical granular assembly has been measured. This was made possible by neutron imaging and computed tomography combined with neutron diffraction strain measurement techniques and associated stress reconstruction. The assembly in question consists of 549 precision steel ball bearings under an applied axial load of 85 MPa in a cylindrical die. Clear evidence of force chains was observed in terms of both the shape of the probability distribution function for normal stresses and the network formed by highly loaded particles. An extensive analysis of the source and magnitude of uncertainty in these measurements is also presented.