Mechanics of Compacted Granular Materials:
From Interfaces, Morphology to Complex Networks
Dr. Yixiang Gan
School of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney, Australia
Granular materials include everything from sand and rocks to flour and salt, and can display some of the characteristics of gases, liquids and solids. Granular media are commonly used in energy systems to store, convert, capture and produce energy. Examples include lithium-ion batteries, nuclear fusion reactors, and thermal storage systems. The function of granular materials in these energy systems involves essentially the transport of electrons, heat and ionic species. Controlling the performance of such systems is encumbered by complex multi-physical interactions of matter and structure across a large range of length scales. This talk will focus on the fundamental mechanics of granular materials arising from the inherent multi-scale, multi-phase and multi-physics nature. Several recent progresses in our research group will be presented. First, at the contact level, interfacial behaviour at rough surfaces was explored considering the electro-mechanical properties, revealing strong correlations to the fractal dimension of the surface structures. Then, at the grain level, we have utilised both simulated and 3D printed grains to show abilities of reproducing and demonstrating the effect of particle shape on the material response. Finally, at the system level, granular media were considered as networks of randomly distributed resistors and capacitors.
Dr Yixiang Gan received the Dr.-Ing degree (with summa cum laude) in Mechanical Engineering from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, in 2008. From 2009 to 2010, he continued worked at KIT as a research scientist on several European projects on nuclear fusion. In 2010, he joined The University of Sydney (USYD), first as a Postdoctoral fellow (2010-2012), then Lecturer (2013-2016) and Senior Lecturer (2017-). Since joined USYD, Dr Gan has been acting as the Chief Investigator on 3 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects, 1 ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), 1 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant, and several external grants, with total funding exceeding A$1.6M. His research areas include mechanics of granular and porous media, mechanics of interfaces, heat and electrical conduction, self-hearing in soils, and carbon geo-sequestration (More information via http://drgan.org/).
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