Discrete element modeling of planetary ice analogs: mechanical behavior upon sintering
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Potentially habitable icy Ocean Worlds, such as Enceladus and Europa, are scientifically compelling worlds in the solar system and high-priority exploration targets. Future robotic exploration of Enceladus and Europa by in-situ missions would require a detailed understanding of the surface material and of the complex lander-surface interactions during locomotion or sampling. To date, numerical modeling approaches that provide insights into the icy terrain's mechanical behavior have been lacking. In this work, we present a Discrete Element Model of porous planetary ice analogs that explicitly describes the microstructure and its evolution upon sintering. The model dimension is tuned following a Pareto-optimality analysis, the model parameters' influence on the sample strength is investigated using a sensitivity analysis, and the model parameters are calibrated to experiments using a probabilistic method. The results indicate that the friction coefficient and the cohesion energy density at the particle-scale govern the macroscopic properties of the porous ice. Our model reveals a good correspondence between the macroscopic and bond strength evolutions, suggesting that the strengthening of porous ice results from the development of a large-scale network due to inter-particle bonding. This work sheds light on the multi-scale nature of the mechanics of planetary ice analogs and points to the importance of understanding surface strength evolution upon sintering to design robust robotic systems. Graphic abstract Show more
Journal / seriesGranular Matter
Pages / Article No.
SubjectIce behaviour; Planetary ice analogs; Microstructure; Probabilistic model calibration; Cone penetration test; Discrete element method (DEM)
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