Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter No. 37

What a year so far! Publications, prizes, workshops, conferences, visits, new staff, master’s students – landslides(?) – the Grenoble GéoMechanique group is an absolute force to be reckoned with. Stay tuned to the end for bonus news and photos!


From a recent publication “Unearthing real time 3D ant tunneling mechanics”, photo credit: CalTech

ALERT-Geomaterials is (a)live!

Everyone at the ALERT Geomaterials Workshop and Doctoral School was thrilled to be back on-site, and full of fromage-fondu, in Aussois! What a contrast to last year, when the workshop was canceled and the doctoral school was only held by Zoom.

Not only was ALERT Geomaterials held in person this year, but almost 20 of the attendees were from Grenoble – and many of them had posters/presentations. Our very own Angela Casarella made a beautiful presentation covering her work towards a Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics model for clays.

For those interested, the full program can be found here Workshop&school_Final_2021

Crème de la crème, Cyrille-B takes the prize

Meanwhile, in the face of fierce competition, Cyrille-B Couture lifted the Ioannis Vardoulakis PhD Thesis Award!! Cyrille defended his thesis, entitled “Mechanical characterization of porous sandstones in true triaxial conditions: diffuse and localized deformation, effect of anisotropy”,  almost one year ago. It was funded by the IMEP2 doctoral school of the Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA). We should note that Cyrille’s distinctive work has garnered international recognition and the Grenoble GéoMechanique group is humbled and proud to have participated in this success. Interested readers can find Cyrille’s PhD manuscript here:


What is the Ioannis Vardoulakis PhD Thesis Award? This annual PhD prize was founded by the ALERT Geomaterials association with the aim of promoting the dissemination of scientific research carried out by PhD students in the field of soil, rock, and concrete mechanics.

ALERT Board of Directors elections

A new ALERT Board of Directors was elected (for the next 3 years). The 15 member board voted our very own Cino in as President, which makes this the start of his second presidential term. He promptly appointed the “bureau”, which includes three people in addition to the president: director, deputy director for administration, and deputy director for finances. They are, respectively, Fréderic Collin (University of Liège, confirmed), Claudia Vitone (Politecnico di Bari, confirmed), and Luc Sibille (new)). This means 50% of the bureau is representing our GéoMechanique group :-)

A new batch of students in our Master program (Geomechanics, Civil Engineering and Risks)

A fresh year, a fresh batch of students. The Master’s program boasts 28 new students coming from 19 different countries (which is amazing, given the situation with the pandemic). So far, zero online classes, everything is happening on-site for the foreseeable future :-).

Granular Materials, indoors and out, in the Montpellier workshop

A few GeoMechanique representatives joined a workshop on granular materials in Montpellier. In particular, Vincent Richefeu, Gaël Combe, Ilija Vego, Gustavo Pinzon, and Cino Viggiani all paid close attention to the special guest, Juan Carlos Santamarina of KAUST. Our team members ended up having fun outdoors as well, since the workshop was followed by a geological excursion in Larzac guided by Alfredo Taboada (who also organized this event). We hope that a similar event can be organised in Grenoble soon!


 A new face in the hallways

We have a new associate professor, named Quentin Rousseau, coming from Ecole Centrale de Nantes. He is with Grenoble-INP (ENSE3) and has joined our Geomechanics group in Laboratoire 3SR to continue his compelling work which focuses on the modelling of the poromechanical behaviour of soils subject to internal erosion by suffusion. He will work on multiscale mechanical modeling in geomaterials. Please give him a warm welcome next time you see him in the hallway!

Some rolling friction at Particles 2021

Bilal Al Tfaily presented his work entitled “Improving the prediction ability of simplified discrete element models on complex loading paths” at  Particles 2021 conference in Hamburg Germany. In particular, he shows a comparison between the use of rolling friction and clumps in terms of prediction ability and computation time.


A look at some recent publications

We are proud to announce that an updated version of the article “Micromechanical constitutive models of geomaterials” by Luc Sibille and Félix Darve for the French encyclopaedia, “Techniques de l’ingénieur” was released last September:

Amato G. Andò E., Lyu C., Viggiani G., Eiksund G.R. (2021) – A glimpse into rapid freezing processes in clay with x-ray tomography. Acta Geotechnica

Milatz M., Hüsener N., Andò E., Viggiani G., Grabe J. (2021) – Quantitative 3D imaging of partially saturated granular materials under uniaxial compression. Acta Geotechnica

(*)Buarque de Macedo R., Andò E., Joy S., Viggiani G., Pal R.K., Andrade J. (2021) – Unearthing real time 3D ant tunneling mechanics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Vol. 118 No. 36 e2102267118

Tudisco E. Vitone C., Mondello C., Viggiani G., Athanasopoulos S., Hall S.A., Cotecchia F. (2021) – Local and global behaviour of fissured clays: effect of fissures orientation and confining pressure. Acta Geotechnica

Patino-Ramirez F., Anselmucci F., Andò E., Viggiani G., Caicedo B., Arson C. (2021) – Deformation and failure mechanisms of granular soil around pressurised shallow cavities. Géotechnique,

Wang R., Pinzón G., Andò E., Viggiani G. (2021) – Modelling Combined Fabric Evolution in an anisometric granular material driven by particle-scale x-ray measurements. Journal of Engineering Mechanics, ASCE, accepted August 2021

A paper which is not about DEM has Bruno Chareyre as a co-author. Yet, as it turns out, it is still about granular media: Montellà, E., Chauchat, J., Chareyre, B., Bonamy, C., & Hsu, T. (2021). A two-fluid model for immersed granular avalanches with dilatancy effectsJournal of Fluid Mechanics, 925, A13.

(*) This paper received a strong amount of external attention for its unique approach to ant tunnel imaging — see for example  and

Bonus pics:

A subset of the GéoMechanique group became irrationally excited over the discovery of a fresh landslide: landslide

Last, but certainly not least, the true heroes of the Aussois cafeteria (some new and old 3SR PhD students)


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Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter No. 36

Et le voila! As the end of spring gives way to a lively world filled with open bars, sunny parks, and green mountains – the Grenoble GéoMécanique group continues producing new projects, new publications, new talks, and new personnel! Read our 36th Grenoble Geomechanics Group Newsletter for details!



New projects:

Screenshot from 2021-06-01 16-21-32

  • Dominique Daudon will study DEM modeling of Pircas embankment stones (Incas technology) under seismic loading during her new ECOS mobility project which has a duration of  3 years. The project “Sarra” is coordinated by Frederique Leblanc, of Laboratoire Jean Kuntzman (LJK), to study “small rockfall run out” and it is funded by UGA. The collboration implies LJK, Laboratoire 3sr, the University of Bordeaux (Vincent Couallier) and Irstea (Franck Bourrier)

A look at some recent publications:

  • Amato, G., Andò, E., Lyu, C. et al. (2021) A glimpse into rapid freezing processes in clay with x-ray tomography. Acta Geotech.
    This fascinating article was carried out in 2019 by our former M.Sc student, Giorgia Amato, under the main supervision of Gudmund Reinar Eiksund, who was on sabbatical at 3sr during the research.
  • Edward AndòBenjy Marks and Stéphane Roux  (2021) Single-projection reconstruction technique for positioning monodisperse spheres in 3D with a divergent x-ray beam
  • Luc Sibille, Nadia Benahmed, Félix Darve (2021). Constitutive response predictions of both dense and loose soils with a discrete element model, Computers and Geotechnics, Volume 135,
  • Anna Herring, Penelope L. King, Mohammad Saadatfar, Fatin Mahdini, Afiq Muzhafar Kemis Yahyah, Edward Andò, (2021) 3D microstructure controls on mineral carbonation. Journal of CO2 Utilization.

In other news:

  • Øyvind Torgersrud has taken a break from his job at the NGI (Norwegian Geotechnical Institute) to start a PhD with Eddy and Cino, to be co-supervised by Jose Andrade at Caltech (USA) and Hans Petter Jostad in NGI. He will study granular mechanics both with x-ray tomography and LS-DEM. We can expect him to be working in Grenoble for all of 2022 and possibly longer.
  • Eddy (Edward Andò) has temporarily left the 3SR and is now a visiting professor in Katrin Beyer’s lab in EPFL.
  • Gustavo Pinzon and Cyrille Couture both presented their work at “IROAST short virtual event”, covering their experimental campaigns focused on imaging porous media. The meeting was hosted by the University of Kumamoto on May 12, 2021.
  • Cino gave a spirited keynote lecture at the (virtual) german soil mechanics conference (Bodenmechanik-Tagung) on April 21, 2021 where he discussed recent developments in x-ray and neutron imaging for geomechanics.
  • Cyrille Couture started a 6-month post-doc at the ILL working with Alessandro to study the hydromechanics of multiphase fluid fingering in granular material.



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Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter No. 35

Well, well, well. You’ve decided to read the brand new Geomechanics Newsletter. Good choice :) Our 35th newsletter presents a range of happenings including the release of our beautiful new Activity Report, which contains all sorts of GéoMécanique group research. In other news, we have 11 in-house Master’s students starting their research projects next week, and as usual – an incredible amount of publications.  As always: read on for details!

Screenshot from 2021-02-24 14-54-06

Activity Report #3 

Screenshot from 2021-02-24 14-55-54

Thanks to Vincent Richefeu & Antoine Mertz for their hard work organizing, collecting, and compiling the work of over 14 researchers and 25 PhD students. The report presents the hard work of Grenoble Geomechanics Group and covers a wide range of topics including, but not limited to:

  1. Multi-scale analysis of geomaterials
  2. Interfaces, soil-structure interactions and civil engineering structures
  3. Bio-chemo-mechanical interactions
  4. Thermo-hydro-mechanical coupling

Take a deep dive into our work by downloading the pdf book.

Screenshot from 2021-02-25 14-57-47

Deconfinement – for the calibration chamber

Our dear old rusty calibration chamber was removed from its underground resting position to make way for a smaller, younger, (but less distinguished) calibration chamber. In the end, 3SR will be one of the only labs in the world to have two calibration chambers of different sizes. Such an asset will enable further research into size-effect.

Thanks to Ankit, Payam, and Laurent for contributing their manual labor to the 3 tonne excavation!

WhatsApp Image 2021-02-12 at 12.18.34-2



Below you will find a selection of fresh 3SR publications ranging from imaging topics to earthworm locomotion.

Rorato R., Arroyo, M., Gens A., Andò E., Viggiani G. (2021) – Image-based calibration of rolling resistance in discrete element models of sand. Computers and Geotechnics, Volume 131, 103929

Borela R., Frost J.D., Viggiani G., Anselmucci F. (2021) – Earthworm-inspired robotic locomotion in sand: an experimental study using x-ray tomography. Géotechnique Letters, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1-8.

Kruyt N., Zhao C., Wiebicke M., Pinzon G., Andò E., Viggiani G. (2021) – Fabric evolution in granular soils: experimental and theoretical results. Computers and Geotechnics, accepted January 2021.

Anselmucci F., Andò E., Viggiani G., Lenoir N., Peyroux R., Arson C., Sibille L. (2021) – The use of x-ray tomography to investigate soil deformation around growing roots. Géotechnique Letters, accepted February 2021.

Chao Yuan and Bruno Chareyre (2021) Transitioning from the funicular to the pendular regime in granular soils. Géotechnique 0 0:0, 1-32

Les stages commencent!

You may notice we have 11 new Master’s internships starting at the beginning of March. Their projects range from experimental work with the Tomo, to numerical work with various softwares. Among them we have:

Erika INCARDONA / Ibraheem KHAN / Georges MOUALLEM / Panteleimon


Cino has now resorted to virtual globetrotting in his recent PoreLab webinar ( His presentation covering imaging processes in relation to geomaterials laboratory testing can be viewed here.

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Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter No. 34

L’hiver arrive! We will miss this past Fall since it brought with it an incredible amount of production from the GéoMécanique group here in Grenoble. In total we had three students successfully defend their theses, six journal publications, a grant from AUGC, and the commencement of another fleet of 26 MSc students from 13 countries.  Read on for details!


Thesis Season 

Our very own Cyrille Couture brilliantly defended his PhD thesis on October 22, 2020, entitled “Mechanical characterization of porous sandstones in true triaxial conditions: diffuse and localized deformation, effect of anisotropy”. Good job Cyrille!



The one and only Floriana Anselmucci defended her PhD thesis which covered an experimental investigation of the mechanical response of sand to plant root growth. Lot’s of fun images! Great job Floriana!



The hyper smart Qiangqiang Sun successfully defended his PhD on “Seismic response of tunnels in soils: From deterministic to probabilistic approaches.” We look forward to all your future work!



Master’s program, commence!

Another Fall, another round of the famous MSc program “Geomechanics, Civil Engineering and Risks”. November 2 welcomes a shiny new class of 26 master students, coming from 13 different countries (including Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America). Interestingly, we’re doing very well in terms of gender equality: there are 13 men and 13 women in the class! So far, all the teaching is remote (via zoom), but we expect to meet these students in person when they start their master’s projects, in early March 2021.


AUGC Grant:

The famous clay trio, Angela Casarella, Alessandro Tarantino, and Alice Di Donna, received a grant from AUGC: Association Universitaire de Génie Civil to present their paper “Micromechanical interpretation of thermo-plastic behaviour of clays”  at ICEGT 2020 (rescheduled in April 2022). The paper has already been published with the other conference proceedings here:

A look at some recent publications

And let’s not forget about all the hard working authors pumping 3SR journal publications out the door!

Rorato R., Arroyo, M., Andò  E., Gens A., Viggiani G. (2020) – Linking shape and rotation of grains during triaxial compression of sand. Granular Matter (accepted September 2020).

Doreau-Malioche J., Combe G., Viggiani G. (2020) – Étude du comportement de l’interface sable-pieu sous chargement axial monotone et cyclique à l’échelle granulaire. Revue Française de Géotechnique (accepted September 2020).

Wiebicke M., Herle I., Andò E., Viggiani G. (2020) – Measuring the fabric evolution of sand – application and challenges. Geotechnik (accepted November 2020)

Martinez, A., DeJong, J., et al. (60 authors including Viggiani G.) (2020) – Bio-inspired Geotechnical Engineering: Principles, Current Work, Opportunities, and Challenges. Géotechnique (accepted November 2020)

Rorato R., Arroyo, M., Gens A., Andò E., Viggiani G. (2020) – Image-based calibration of rolling resistance in discrete element models of sand. Computers and Geotechnics (accepted December 2020)

Borela R., Frost J.D., Viggiani G., Anselmucci F. (2020) – Earthworm-inspired robotic locomotion in sand: an experimental study using x-ray tomography. Géotechnique Letters (accepted December 2020).


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Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter-no.33

Welcome back to school! The talented members of our GéoMéchanique group of Laboratoire 3SR made good use of their “summer vacation” by publishing papers, hiring new doctoral students, and adding a permanent member to the staff. In other news, we have master’s student defenses coming up next week. Read on for details!


New Personnel

Two masters students are taking fresh PhD positions:
Chiara Rossi – starting December
PhD project: A micro-mechanical approach to cemented granular materials
Supervisors: Alessandro Tengattini, Pierre Bésuelle, Cino Viggiani
Country of origin: Italy

Meanwhile, we welcome Alessandro Tengattini as an Assistant Professor (Maitre de Conférences) at UGA in Laboratoire 3SR:alessandro

Master’s defense schedule ahead!

Next week, we have the opportunity to watch the master’s students defend their work between 07/09-10/09. The schedules each day vary, but the defenses will generally occur between 9 am and 5:30 pm. For those interested, here is a file containing the master’s student defense times.


A look at some recent publications

William Chèvremont, Hugues Bodiguel, Bruno Chareyre, (2020) Lubricated contact model for numerical simulations of suspensions, Powder Technology, 72. (temporary open-access link | permanent link).

Tengattini A., Andò E., Lenoir N., Viggiani G. (2020) – Neutron imaging for geomechanics: a review. Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment (accepted in June 2020).

Karapiperis K., Harmon J., Viggiani G., Andò E., Andrade J. (2020) – Investigating the Incremental Behavior of Granular Materials with the Level-Set Discrete Element Method. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids (accepted in July 2020)
[a pdf is available here: ]

Shahin G., Viggiani G., Buscarnera G. (2020) – Simulating rock heterogeneities through a CT-FEM mapping scheme discloses effects of boundary friction on compaction banding onset. International Journal of Solids and Structures (accepted in August 2020).

Robert Caulk, Luc Scholtès, Marek Krzaczek, Bruno Chareyre (2020) – A pore-scale thermo–hydro-mechanical model for particulate systems, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering



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Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter-no.32

Summer starts on June 20th, and clearly the GéoMéchanique group can’t help but take this opportunity to start new experiments, push publications, and network academically. Find all the news within the 32nd edition of our newsletter.

If you have something you want to share in the next newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us at: .


Presentation on clay structure!

Social distancing rules can’t keep us apart – we moved our monthly meeting to the virtual world :-). This month, doctoral student Angela Casaeralla made a riveting virtual presentation covering her research on the thermal effects of clay. We learned about how thermal processes (heating in particular) contribute to reduced attraction forces on clay platelets leading to structural collapse and changes in volumetric strain.


Visiting Scholars

Our colleague Barbara Mazzolai has obtained a grant from Labex Tec21 to visit 3SR for one month — most likely in October this year. Barbara is the director of the Center for Micro-BioRobotics of IIT (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia). Her current scientific activity focuses on bioinspired soft robotics, with a particular research interest in merging biology and engineering. She has been invited by Luc Sibille, Floriana Anselmucci, Edward Andò, Nicolas Lenoir, Robert Peyroux and Cino Viggiani — we’re looking forward to discussing plants and soil with her, and hopefully setting up new common research projects.

Our colleague Benjy Marks has obtained a grant from Labex Tec21 to spend 2 to 3 months per year in Grenoble over the next three years. His first visit is tentatively scheduled in January and February next year.  Benjy works at the University of Sydney, and he is an expert in granular flow problems, such as avalanche runout, landslide and debris flow modelling. He will work on “Mapping fluid migration in granular flows”, together with Alessandro Tengattini, Edward Andò, and Cino Viggiani at 3SR — in close collaboration with Thierry Faug at INRAE (formerly IRSTEA).


Swelling SAP particles (a granular super-swelling material) in partially saturated conditions leads to rather complex couplings, but fortunately there are ways to simulate them at the pore scale based on some Yade-DEM module implemented at Utrecht Hydrogeology Group; see “Unsaturated flow in a packing of swelling particles; a grain-scale model“, 2020, Adv. Water Res., by Thomas Sweijen, Majid Hassanizadeh, and Bruno Chareyre.

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Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter-no.31

Despite an incredible amount of adversity in recent months – including a bit of smoke in Eiffel and, more importantly, the distinct lack of real-life croissants during our Friday “croissant” breaks – the GéoMéchanique group remains strong and productive. Find all the news within the 31st edition of our newsletter. Enjoy!

If you have something you want to share in the next newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us at: .

People visiting, people visited

In February, we had a two-day visit from Matthew Coop from University College London (UK) to discuss and validate our design for a particle-particle friction testing apparatus — Matthew is the reference in this field. Our design is good, so now we build! Oh-well, “now” has become “soon”, given the fire in the Eiffel building plus the lockdown … :-(


In early March, Eddy and Cino visited Marius Milatz and colleagues at the Technical University of Hamburg — there is an ongoing collaborative project on the hydromechanics of unsaturated columns of sand under load studied with … x-ray tomography (surprise surprise!)


PhD graduates!

On March 5, Max Wiebicke successfully defended his PhD at the University of Dresden, Germany. Max PhD is entitled “Experimental analysis of the evolution of fabric in granular
soils upon monotonic loading and load reversals” and was jointly supervised by Ivo Herle in Dresden and by Eddy and Cino at 3SR.

On April 7, Ghassan Shahin successfully defended his PhD at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (USA). Ghassan’s PhD is entitled “Geomechanical modeling of inception and propagation of compaction bands in porous rocks” and was jointly supervised by Giuseppe Buscarnera in the USA and by Cino in Grenoble.

A look at some recent journal publications

Eddy and Cino coauthored the following paper, which was accepted for publication:

Mollon G., Quacquarelli A., Andò E., Viggiani G. (2020) – Can friction replace roughness in the numerical simulation of granular materials? Granular Matter, accepted February 2020.

Alessandro, Nicolas, Eddy, and Cino coauthored the following paper, which was accepted for publication:

Tengattini A., Lenoir N., Andò E., Giroud B., Atkins D., Beaucour J., Viggiani G. (2020) – NeXT-Grenoble, the Neutron and X-ray Tomograph in Grenoble. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A, accepted April 2020.

(please note that the final open access version is available online:

Eleni, Eddy, Emmanuel, and Alessandro also published an article in Frontiers in Earth Science:

Stavropoulou Eleni, Andò Edward, Roubin Emmanuel, Lenoir Nicolas, Tengattini Alessandro, Briffaut Matthieu, Bésuelle Pierre (2020) Dynamics of Water Absorption in Callovo-Oxfordian Claystone Revealed With Multimodal X-Ray and Neutron Tomography, Frontiers in Earth Science, accepted February 2020.

Open Geomechanics is set to release a new article by Robert:

Caulk, R.A. (2020) Modeling acoustic emissions in heterogeneous rocks during tensile fracture with the Discrete Element Method. Open Geomechanics, accepted April 2020. 


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Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter-no.30

As your evening commute begins to lighten up* with the approach of Spring, so does the productivity in our GéoMéchanique group at Laboratoire 3SR (Sols, Solides, Structures – Risques). Within the 30th edition of our newsletter, you can pick the greenest pre-Spring GéoMéchanique buds including seminar presentations, workshops, and publications. Please forward this letter to colleagues and friends. Enjoy!

*note we make no mention here of your commute “drying up”

If you have something you want to share in the next newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us at: .

3SR seminar series in full swing

  • January 16, 2020: Robert Caulk (3SR) gave a talk on “A pore-scale Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical coupled model for particulate systems”
  • January 23, 2020: Ryan Hurley (Johns Hopkins, USA) gave a talk on “Experimental Micromechanics of Geologic Materials with X-ray Diffraction and Tomography”
  • ryanhurley
  • January 31, 2020: Ioannis Stefanou (Ecole Centrale Nantes) gave a talk on “Controlling Anthropogenic and Natural Seismicity: Insights From Active Stabilization of the Spring‐Slider Model”

Don’t miss it! Takashi Matsushima on March 10th at14h00 discussing “Recent progress in granular statistical mechanics”.

For a full list of past and planned seminars, head over to the brand new 3SR website.

Granular GéoMéchanique ambassadors!

A (very nice!) three-day workshop on Emerging Scales in Granular Media took place in Hong Kong (14-16 Jan 2020)


Among roughly forty invited speakers, Cino and Felix represented 3SR:


GéoMéchanique team seminar activity

Thanks to our new seminar organizer, Ankit Sharma, our team continues to meet regularly to exchange ideas about ongoing research. On December 5th, we heard from Agathe Furet on her concrete impact research and Ritesh Gupta (pictured below) on the behavior of structural piles under combined cyclic loading. On January 16th, Maria Delli Carpini introduced us to her work modeling geosynthetics in cohesive soils with the discrete element method.

Don’t miss it! Coming up on February 13th at 12h30, we have Cino Viggiani presenting some recent observations on the formation of ice lenses in clays.


Recent Publications

Familiar faces back to haunt 3SR

Welcome Marta Stasiak back for her new one year post-doc concerning “L’étude numérique du comportement mécanique de blocs quasi-fragiles” under supervison of Gaël Combe and Vincent Richefeu.

Elin Törnquist, a PhD student from Lund University in Sweden, returns to complete a second three month residency here at 3SR where she will perform neutron and XRay imaging at the ILL in collaboration with Alessandro Tengattini and Edward Ando.

Geomaterials short course (still) offered – June 2020!

Registration is now open for our very own workshop entitled “Mechanics of geomaterials: from micro to macro”, which will take place in Grenoble on June 29-30 2020. The workshop is in the framework of the IACMAG conference. Download the flyer for more information.

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Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter-no.29

They say it pairs well with vin chaud on a chilly Thursday evening – the 29th edition of our GéoMécanique newsletter :-). Within you will find neige fraîche in the form of news covering our recent graduates, visiting researchers, workshops, and lectures generated by the GéoMécanique group at Laboratoire 3SR (Sols, Solides, Structures – Risques). Please  forward this letter to colleagues and friends. Enjoy!

If you have something you want to share in the next newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us at: .

Fresh PhD grads!

Hamid (Payam) Hossein Sadrabadi defended a PhD on “In-situ identification of liquefiable soils by cyclic static penetrometer : physical and numerical modelling“. Supervised by Bruno Chareyre and Luc Sibille, the work advances an ongoing project on innovative in-situ testing methods funded by Equaterre group.


On September 27, Olumide Okubadejo successfully defended his PhD. Olumide’s PhD is entitled “Identification and tracking of grains undergoing progressive breakage under mechanical loading with image analysis of 3D+t tomography images” and was jointly supervised by Mauro Dalla Mura and Laurent Bonnaud at GIPSA-Lab and by Eddy and Cino at 3SR.

On October 11, Anne Oleker successfully defended her PhD at the University of Aachen, Germany. Anne’s PhD is entitled “Deformation properties of Boom Clay – Implementation of a multi-scale concept” and was jointly supervised by Janos Urai and Guillaume Desbois in Aachen and by Pierre and Cino in Grenoble.

Riccardo Rorato successfully defended his PhD “Imaging and discrete modelling of sand shape” in Barcelona, supervised by Marcos Arroyo (UPC), Edward Andò (Grenoble) and Antonio Gens (UPC)


ALERT-Geomaterials 2019

The annual wosrkshop and doctoral school of ALERT-Geomaterials took place in Aussois from September 30 to October 4, 2019. Cyrille CoutureBruno Chareyre and Luc Sibille presented their research in the session “Upscaling in Geotechnical Engineering”. Luc Sibille and Evelyne Kolb (Sorbonne, Paris) organized and coordinated the Tuesday session on ‘The mechanics of root-soil systems: from microscopic to macroscopic approaches”, which included a short presentation by Floriana Anselmucci. The doctoral school, entitled “The legacy of Ioannis Vardoulakis to Geomechanics” was coordinated by Jean Sulem and Cino Viggiani, and included a lecture by Eddy AndòDorjan Dauti was awarded the 2019 Ioannis Vardoulakis PhD prize for the best PhD in geomechanics (ex-aequo with Antoine Wautier).


Inspiring lectures and talks

On October 16, Barbara Mazzolai (Center for Micro-BioRobotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) visited the lab and gave a talk on “Towards a new generation of self-growing plant-inspired robots”

On November 21, Bernardo Caicedo (Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia) visited the lab and introduced 3SR researchers to diatomaceous species and their pronounced effect on soil behavior with his talk titled, “Effect of the shape of diatomaceous species on the macroscopic behaviour of soils”.

On November 1st, Cino Viggiani delivered the 17th C.W. Lovell Distinguished Lecture at Purdue University, USA where he introduced Purdue researchers to recent advances in (geo) mechanics thanks to image analysis. Find details on his talk titled: “3D experimental geomechanics at the grain scale: what for?”


Fresh CALIPER projects at 3SR

The CALIPER project (a Horizon 2020 funded Initial Training Network, see has officially started in September 2019. The network consists of 15 academic and private sector partners (including Université Grenoble Alpes) who come together to advance the field of granular materials forward in numerical modeling, experimentation and understanding. In this framework, two PhD students will be working at 3SR: Ilija Vego (who started in October) and Gustavo Pinzon (who will start in December). They will be supervised by Edward Andò, Alessandro Tengattini, and Cino Viggiani.

New doctorat

Nicolás Zalamea started his PhD in the team the 1st October 2019. The title of the PhD is “Multi-scale modelling of the thermo-hydromechanical behaviour of argillaceous rocks”. He is supervised by Pierre Bésuelle, Stefano Dal Pont and Alice Di Donna.

Special guests 

Antonio Pol is visiting 3SR from University of Padua for three months to work on his project titled “Coupled hydromechanical simulation of debris flows and submerged avalanches”.

In the framework of the UGA-GeorgiaTech project BIOinMECH (The mechanics of bio-inspired processes: a multiscale study of multifunctional systems), two PhD students from GeorgiaTech came to spend three months at 3SR (from mid September to mid December): Nimisha Roy and Rodrigo Borela Valente


Nimisha and Rodrigo setting up an experiment in the tomograph, with the help of Floriana

Geomaterials short course offering – June 2020!

We are organising a workshop that will take place in Grenoble on June 29-30 2020 entitled “Mechanics of geomaterials: from micro to macro”. The workshop is in the framework of the IACMAG conference. Download the flyer for more information.

Biophysique team workshop

Floriana Anselmucci and Luc Sibille from 3SR and Rodrigo Borela Valente from Georgia Tech (currently visiting us) attended mid November the workshop “Biophysique de l’interaction racine-sol” organized by the GDR PhyP. Floriana presented her PhD work “Digital image analysis of the root-soil interaction”, and Luc gave a brief talk “What is the impact of root development on soil state ?”

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Grenoble Geomechanics Newsletter-no.28

The school year has started and that means autumn is threatening your shorts, swim trunks, and sandals. But not to worry, unlike the now barren fig tree out front Galilée, the 28th edition of the GéoMécanique newsletter brings fruit in the form of summer 2019 publications, conferences, invited talks, and activities generated by the GéoMécanique group at Laboiratoire 3SR (Sols, Solides, Structures – Risques). Please feel free to forward this letter to colleagues and friends. Enjoy!

If you have something you want to share in the next newsletter, please don’t hesitate to contact us at: .

Don’t forget your roots (for slope stability considerations)!

Glyn Bengough (University of Dundee and Hutton Institute) visited us on September 17th, 2019 to give the first seminar of our annual 3SR seminar series. His engaging seminar covered “Root–soil mechanical and hydrological interactions different scales”.


Glyn enlightening 3SR on root-soil mechanical interactions

DEM8 conference recap

A group of researchers and students represented 3SR at DEM8, the 8th international conference on discrete element methods at University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands. Between July 22-26th, Vincent Richefeu chaired the particle breakage session, Bruno Chareyre presented in the open source software and two phase flow sessions [1][2], Cyrille-B Couture discussed FEM-DEM couplings, and Robert Caulk introduced an open framework for thermo-hydro-mechanical simulations [3].

[1] Chareyre B., Montellà, E.P., Yuan, C., Gens, A. (2019), A hybrid pore network – LBM method for integrating flow of immiscible phases in DEM. In 8th International Conference on Discrete Element Methods. (fulltext)

[2] Caulk, R.A., Kozicki, J., Kunhappan, D., Maurin, R., Montellà, E.P., Sweijen, T., Yuan, C., Chareyre, B. (2019), Yade’s (undeniable) transformation into a model project of optimzation, multi-physics couplings, and user support. In 8th International Conference on Discrete Element Methods. (fulltext)

[3] Caulk, R.A., Chareyre, B. (2019), An open framework for the simulation of coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical processes in Discrete Element Systems. In 8th International Conference on Discrete Element Methods. (fulltext)

Up and Running! Open Geomechanics Journal 

Cino Viggiani and Edward Andò (among the editors of Open Geomechancics) are pleased to announce that Open Geomechanics, a diamond open access journal run by researchers, is up and running. There are already two papers available online (open access of course); one demonstrating a hyperplasticity framework conveyed with convex analysis [1] and the other mathematically examining the effect of proppant on hydraulic fracture geometry [2]. Find both articles along with their riveting review histories online. Consider adding your next article to this diamond open access journal.

[1] Houlsby, Guy T. Frictional Plasticity in a Convex Analytical Setting. Open Geomechanics, Volume 1 (2019) article no. 3, 10 p. doi : 10.5802/ogeo.2. (full text)

[2] Selvadurai, A.P.S. Proppant-Induced Opening of Hydraulically Created Fractures. Open Geomechanics, Volume 1 (2019) article no. 2, 10 p. doi : 10.5802/ogeo.1. (full text)

A look at some recent journal publications

Max, Eddy, and Cino coauthored the following two papers which were accepted for publication:

Nadimi S., Fonseca J., Andò E., Viggiani G. (2019) – A micro finite element model for soil behaviour: experimental evaluation for sand under triaxial compression. Géotechnique , accepted August 2019.

Wiebicke M., Andò E., Viggiani G., Herle I. (2019) – Measuring the evolution of contact fabric in shear bands with x-ray tomography. Acta Geotechnica, accepted September 2019.

PhD graduates!

On September 13, Ilaria Soriano successfully defended her PhD in Edinburgh, Scotland. Ilaria’s PhD is entitled “Bands of localised deformation in weakly cemented sands: the example of Bédoin (southern France)” and was jointly supervised by Elma Charalampidou and Helen Lewis at Heriot-Watt University and Cino Viggiani at Université Grenoble Alpes. This was a PhD in cotutelle, i.e., she obtained a PhD from both universities.

On July 16th, Eduard Puig Montellà presented his research encompassing “Modeling capillarity and two-phase flow in granular media: from pore-scale to network scale”. He was supervised by Bruno Chareyre and Antonio Gens, while his jury included: Hugues BODIGUEL (INP Grenoble), S. Majid HASSANIZADEH (Utrecht University), Jean-Yves DELENNE (INRA), Vanessa MAGNANIMO (University of Twente).

Recommence – Masters Program 

On September 9, the 13th edition of our well-received one-year master program in “geomechanics, civil engineering and risks” recommenced in Grenoble. This year, we have a diverse class of 24 students coming from 11 countries worldwide.

Lectures and talks 

Cino Viggiani was busy this summer delivering four keynote/plenary/invited lectures on opposites sides of the globe:

– June 2019: plenary lecture at the annual conference of the Engineering Mechanics Institut (EMI2019) in Pasadena, USA (conference link)

– June 2019: keynote lecture at the 7th International Symposium on Deformation Characteristics of Geomaterials (IS-Glasgow) in Scotland  (conference link)

– September 2019: invited plenary lecture at the 17th European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ECSMGE) in Reykjavik, Iceland ( A pdf of the associated paper can be found here.

– September 2019: invited lecture at the conference of AIMETA, the Italian Association of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (conference link)


Cino Viggiani in between the two organizers of IS-Glasgow –: Erdin Ibraim (left) and Alessandro Tarantino (right).

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