The macroscopic response of geomaterials is controlled by the processes occurring at the microscale. Understanding these processes is key to interpret experimental data, to inform ‘continuum’ macroscopic constitutive models, and to develop quantitative predictive tools based on Discrete Element Method (DEM) approaches.
For the case of granular materials, microscale mechanisms have been investigated experimentally in terms of inter-particle forces and particle kinematics and these have been translated into DEM (Discrete Element Method) models, which have been used as a virtual laboratory to investigate fundamental aspects of the macroscopic behaviour of granular materials. On the other hand, microscale processes in clays cannot be easily investigated in a direct fashion (in situ) due to the small size of clay particles. Despite 100 years of research on the macro-mechanical behaviour of clay, we are still largely ignoring underlying mechanisms at the particle scale.
The purpose of the workshop is to gather researchers working on various aspects of clay micromechanics and researchers from other fields whose skills and know-how can contribute significantly to clay micromechanics research. This is a new field of research at its very early stage and is relevant in a number of applications (geotechnical and geological engineering, ceramic and pharmaceutical industry, erosion control). In the workshop, we intend to travel across scales (nano, micro, meso, and macro) and to tackle the problem from different standpoints (theoretical, experimental, and numerical).