12 July 1996 Mechanics of granular materials (MGM)
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The constitutive behavior of uncemented granular materials such as strength, stiffness, and localization of deformations are to a large extent derived from interparticle friction transmitted between solid particles and particle groups. Interparticle forces are highly dependent on gravitational body forces. At very low effective confining pressures, the true nature of the Mohr envelope, which defines the Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion for soils, as well as the relative contribution of each of non-frictional components to soil's shear strength cannot be evaluated in terrestrial laboratories. Because of the impossibility of eliminating gravitational body forces on earth, the weight of soil grains develops interparticle compressive stresses which mask true soil constitutive behavior even in the smallest samples of models. Therefore the microgravity environment induced by near-earth orbits of spacecraft provides unique experimental opportunities for testing theories related to the mechanical behavior of terrestrial granular materials. Such materials may include cohesionless soils, industrial powders, crushed coal, etc. This paper will describe the microgravity experiment, 'Mechanics of Granular Materials (MGM)', scheduled to be flown on Space Shuttle-MIR missions. The paper will describe the experiment's hardware, instrumentation, specimen preparation procedures, testing procedures in flight, as well as a brief summary of the post-mission analysis. It is expected that the experimental results will significantly improve the understanding of the behavior of granular materials under very low effective stress levels.
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Khalid A. Alshibli, Khalid A. Alshibli, Nicholas C. Costes, Nicholas C. Costes, Ronald F. Porter, Ronald F. Porter, } "Mechanics of granular materials (MGM)", Proc. SPIE 2809, Space Processing of Materials, (12 July 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.244343; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.244343

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