The paper presents a micromechanical analysis of plane granular assemblies of discs with a range of diameters, and interacting according to linear contact force-interparticle compliance relationships. Contacts are assumed to be fixed and indestructible. Macroscopically, the system is described in terms of a two-dimensional analogue of generalized Hooke’s law. Explicit expressions for elastic constants in terms of microstructure are derived for dense isotropic assemblies. It is shown that Poisson’s ratio for dense systems depends on the ratio of tangential to normal contact stiffnesses. The derived expression for Poisson’s ratio is verified by numerically simulating plane assemblies comprising 1000 particles. The effect of density on Poisson’s ratio is investigated using numerical simulations. The theory of dense plane systems is extended to dense three-dimensional systems comprising spheres. Finally, it is shown that Poisson’s result ν=1/4 is recovered for spherical particles with central interactions.

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