Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Thang Pham

Second Advisor

Dr. Thuy Vu

Third Advisor

Dr. Jong-Min Kim


A 3D DEM model using Particle Flow Code (PFC3D) software was developed utilizing a bonded-ball flexible membrane approach to study cohesionless soil as a discontinuous discrete material. The 3D model was calibrated and verified with experimental data, and a sensitivity analysis was carried out for the microparameters. Triaxial tests were simulated to observe the stress-strain curves and volumetric changes, as well as the strength parameters of soils consisting of spherical particles with different gradations but the same porosity. One important finding is that the relationships between particle size and deviatoric stress, internal friction angle, and dilatancy angle were found to be linear.

Geosynthetics were added to the developed model to study the stress-strain behaviors of reinforced soil in a geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) mass, which have important applications that can improve the design of the structures. Results indicate that geosynthetics improve the cohesion to the granular soil.


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