The distinct element method has been used to perform a number of numerical experiments, analogous to physical tests routinely carried out for real geologic materials. The ability to prescribe exactly the material properties and the boundary conditions allows us to study in detail the influence of microscopic structure on macroscopic response. These macroscopic quantities are usually the only data obtained in physical experiments. We are now in a position to formulate a general constitutive model, based on physical mechanisms and appropriate for use in a continuum code.
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