Discrete element simulation of mine tailings stabilized with biopolymer

Rui Chen, Xiaobin Ding, Lianyang Zhang, Yongli Xie, Hongpeng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper presents a series of numerical simulations using discrete element method (DEM) to study the behavior of biopolymer-stabilized mine tailings (MT). Validation is conducted by comparing the DEM results with the experimental data. The macro-behavior comparison shows that the DEM simulations are in good agreement with experimental results. Analysis of the micro-parameters indicates more biopolymer induces larger tensile and shear strengths, confirming the experimental results which show that the strength of MT increases with higher biopolymer concentration. Analysis of the bond breakage pattern suggests that at the same strain level MT stabilized with higher biopolymer concentration show less bond breakage percentage. MT specimen under greater confining pressure develops larger shear band than that under lower confining pressure. Higher biopolymer concentration induces the increase in larger inter-particle bonding strength and thus larger cracking resistance and greater macro-strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number772
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Biopolymer
  • Bond breakage
  • Discrete element method (DEM)
  • Mine tailings
  • Parallel bond model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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