The aim of this work is to draw together these two approaches in the investigation of the plastic deformation of soils. A simple discrete element model has been used to evaluate the effect of anisotropy, force chains, and sliding contacts on different aspects of soil plasticity: dilatancy, failure, shear bands, ratcheting, etc. The discussion of these aspects raises two important questions: Is the incrementally nonlinear theory appropriate to describe the mechanical response of soils? And, does a purely elastic regime exist in the deformation of granular materials?
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