About Dr Yixiang Gan

To understand the complex reality, I am working on models that capture the essential features of mechanical, thermal and electrical behaviours of granular materials.

Dr Gan’s research focuses on the fundamental mechanics of heterogeneous materials, including sands, powders, foams, and energy materials that have granular forms.

Thermo-mechanics of granular media: (i) Continuum mechanics: Using unique inverse-analysis methodology my work enabled constitutive models of granular media to reach new extreme thermo-mechanical conditions. I applied this method to study full-scale heat exchangers to be used in future nuclear fusion reactors.  (ii) Discrete mechanics: I developed a novel thermal discrete element method (Thermal-DEM) to investigate granular systems, by capturing effective thermal conductivity, thermal expansion and grain damage, emerging in response to fabric and thermal evolutions. Moreover, my development of laboratory crush load tests enabled us to demonstrate the effect of boundary and environment conditions on the strength of single grains. I developed a hybrid experimental-DEM method to study macroscopic strength driven by microscopic single-grain crushing properties. Recently, my DEM code has been extended to study the swelling behaviour of grains inside Li-ion batteries. (iii) Grain melting: Recently, I have proposed a discrete element method with grain melting and solidification (Meltable-DEM), as a basis for modelling simulated faults. I have developed a novel phase diagram for earthquake predictions.

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