Published in Computational Mechanics Vol. 60 (6), pp. 997-1010, 2017
The Discrete Element Method (DEM) has been used for modelling continua, like concrete or rocks. However, it requires a big calibration effort, even to capture just the linear elastic behavior of a continuum modelled via the classical force-displacement relationships at the contact interfaces between particles. In this work we propose a new way for computing the contact forces between discrete particles. The newly proposed forces take into account the surroundings of the contact, not just the contact itself. This brings in the missing terms that provide an accurate approximation to an elastic continuum, and avoids calibration of the DEM parameters for the purely linear elastic range.