Abstract A series of numerical tests was conducted to study the micromechanical properties and energy dissipation in polydisperse assemblies of spherical particles subjected to uniaxial compression. In general, distributed particle size assemblies with standard deviations ranging from 0% to 80% of the particle mean diameter were examined. The microscale analyses included the trace of the fabric tensor, magnitude and orientation of the contact forces, trace of stress, number of contacts and degree of mobilization of friction in contacts between particles. In polydisperse samples, the average coordination numbers were lower than in monodisperse assemblies, and the mobilization of friction was higher than in monodisperse assemblies due to the non-uniform spatial rearrangement of spheres in the samples and the smaller displacements of the particles. The effect of particle size heterogeneity on both the energy density and energy dissipation in systems was also investigated.