PLATYMATCH- A particle-matching algorithm for the analysis of platy particle kinematics using X-ray Computed Tomography

Ibeh, Christopher U. and Pedrotti, Matteo and Tarantino, Alessandro and Lunn, Rebecca (2021) PLATYMATCH- A particle-matching algorithm for the analysis of platy particle kinematics using X-ray Computed Tomography. Computers and Geotechnics, 138. 104367. ISSN 0266-352X (

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Particle scale mechanisms influence the mechanical behaviour of geomaterials. A better understanding of soil micromechanics will help develop more accurate constitutive models and, by extension, safer and more economic geotechnical design. Sand-grained soils have been widely studied at the particle scale using X-ray Computed tomography and this has revealed important micromechanical behaviour of sands. Clays are least understood and studied at the particle scale. As technology rapidly progresses, to understand clay kinematics, a particle kinematic algorithm to match plate shaped (platy) particles will be required. Current algorithms developed for the matching of quartz and carbonate sand particles may not be suitable, since particle attributes that are strong discriminators of round particles may be less unique on platy particles, due to their extremely small c-axis and the reduced image resolution associated with their smaller size. This study presents, particle tracking of kaolin sample using mica markers and provides a platy soil particle matching algorithm for evaluating platy particle kinematics. After testing a range of alternative particle attributes, it was observed that a combination of particle major axis length, intermediate axis length, and perimeter was a good discriminant of the platy mica particles studied. On this basis, we developed PLATYMATCH, an optimised platy particle matching algorithm that considers a minimised combined normalised error of unique particle attributes within a defined search volume space. The algorithm was implemented such that particle attributes were compared in parallel, rather than sequentially, to avoid filtering out a potential particle match based on a single non-unique attribute. PLATYMATCH was then successfully validated using a compressed mica soil sample.