Stress transmission in systems of faceted particles in a silo: the roles of filling rate and particle aspect ratio

We present experimental and numerical results for particle alignment and stress distribution in packings of faceted particles deposited in a small-scale bi-dimensional silo. First, we experimentally characterize the deposits' morphology in terms of the particles' aspect ratio and feeding rate. Then we use the experimental results to validate our discrete element method (DEM) based on spheropolygons. After achieving excellent agreement, we use contact forces and fabric provided by the simulations to calculate the coarse-grained stress tensor. For low feeding rates, square particles display a strong tendency to align downwards, i.e., with a diagonal parallel to gravity. This morphology leads to stress transmission towards the walls, implying a quick development of pressure saturation, in agreement with the Janssen effect. When the feed rate is increased, both the disorder and the number of horizontal squares in the silo increase, hindering the Janssen effect. Conversely, for elongated particles the feed rate has a weak effect on the final deposit properties. Indeed, we always observe highly ordered structures of horizontal rods where the stress is transmitted mainly in the vertical direction.