Traditional continuum mechanics have long been used for many geotechnical applications due to their capability, flexibility and popularity to researchers. However, the continuum mechanics may not truly be an ideal tool for characterizing the detailed micro scale behavior of soils because soils are essentially particulate media not continua in micro scales.
In this sense, particular mechanics is more desirable mechanics for soils. Particulate mechanics combined with DEM (Discrete Element Method) has also been used to address the micro scale behavior in a more coherent way (Peters 2004, O'Sullivan 2006). The weakness of particulate mechanics is the intensive computation time and determination of input parameters.
Molecular mechanics deals with the behavior of atoms and molecules, and it is even lower length scale than particulate mechanics. Molecular mechanics uses equilibrium of potential energies for atoms and molecules; therefore it utilizes fundamental parameters already well defined in physics and chemistry.
By bridging continuum-particular-molecular mechanics, a new plat form of mechanics is generated.