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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1992

S.K. CHOI

Some aspects of the distinct element method (DEM) are reviewed. A model for fully grouted reinforcement subjected to axial and/or shear force(s) is proposed. The modelling…

Abstract

Some aspects of the distinct element method (DEM) are reviewed. A model for fully grouted reinforcement subjected to axial and/or shear force(s) is proposed. The modelling of some rock mechanics problems, by incorporating the reinforcement model into the DEM is presented. A general discussion on the application of the DEM in rock mechanics, and some of the difficulties that may be encountered, based on the author's experience, are also included.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1992

PETER A. CUNDALL and ROGER D. HART

Discrete element methods are numerical procedures for simulating the complete behaviour of systems of discrete, interacting bodies. Three important aspects of discrete…

2307

Abstract

Discrete element methods are numerical procedures for simulating the complete behaviour of systems of discrete, interacting bodies. Three important aspects of discrete element programs are examined: (1) the representation of contacts; (2) the representation of solid material; and (3) the scheme used to detect and revise the set of contacts. A proposal is made to define what constitutes a discrete element program, and four classes of such programs are described: the distinct element method, modal methods, discontinuous deformation analysis and the momentum‐exchange method. Several applications and examples are presented, and a list is given of suggestions for future developments.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1995

A. Munjiza, D.R.J. Owen and N. Bicanic

This paper discusses the issues involved in the development of combined finite/discrete element methods; both from a fundamental theoretical viewpoint and some related…

2665

Abstract

This paper discusses the issues involved in the development of combined finite/discrete element methods; both from a fundamental theoretical viewpoint and some related algorithmic considerations essential for the efficient numerical solution of large scale industrial problems. The finite element representation of the solid region is combined with progressive fracturing, which leads to the formation of discrete elements, which may be composed of one or more deformable finite elements. The applicability of the approach is demonstrated by the solution of a range of examples relevant to various industrial sections.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

J.P. Morris, M.B. Rubin, S.C. Blair, L.A. Glenn and F.E. Heuze

We present the preliminary results from a parameter study investigating the stability of underground structures in response to explosion‐induced strong ground motions. In…

1642

Abstract

We present the preliminary results from a parameter study investigating the stability of underground structures in response to explosion‐induced strong ground motions. In practice, even the most sophisticated site characterization may lack key details regarding precise joint properties and orientations within the rock mass. Thus, in order to place bounds upon the predicted behavior of a given facility, an extensive series of simulations representing different realizations may be required. The influence of both construction parameters (reinforcement, rock bolts, liners) and geological parameters (joint stiffness, joint spacing and orientation, and tunnel diameter to block size ratio) must be considered. We discuss the distinct element method (DEM) with particular emphasis on techniques for achieving improved computational efficiency, including the handling of contact detection and approaches to parallelization. We introduce a new approach for simulating deformation of the discrete blocks using the theory of a Cosserat point, which does not require internal discretization of the blocks. We also outline the continuum techniques we employ to obtain boundary conditions for the distinct element simulations. We present results from simulations of dynamic loading of several generic subterranean facilities in hard rock, demonstrating the suitability of the DEM for this application. These results demonstrate the significant role that joint geometry plays in determining the response of a given facility.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 21 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

Catherine O'Sullivan and Jonathan D. Bray

The distinct element method as proposed by Cundall and Strack uses the computationally efficient, explicit, central difference time integration scheme. A limitation of…

3611

Abstract

The distinct element method as proposed by Cundall and Strack uses the computationally efficient, explicit, central difference time integration scheme. A limitation of this scheme is that it is only conditionally stable, so small time steps must be used. Some researchers have proposed using an implicit time integration scheme to avoid the stability issues arising from the explicit time integrator typically used in these simulations. However, these schemes are computationally expensive and can require a significant number of iterations to form the stiffness matrix that is compatible with the contact state at the end of each time step. In this paper, a new, simple approach for calculating the critical time increment in explicit discrete element simulations is proposed. Using this approach, it is shown that the critical time increment is a function of the current contact conditions. Considering both two‐ and three‐dimensional scenarios, the proposed refined estimates of the critical time step indicate that the earlier recommendations contained in the literature can be unconservative, in that they often overestimate the actual critical time step. A three‐dimensional simulation of a problem with a known analytical solution illustrates the potential for erroneous results to be obtained from discrete element simulations, if the time‐increment exceeds the critical time step for stable analysis.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 21 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 October 2015

Mingjing Jiang, Fang Liu, Huaning Wang and Xinxin Wang

The purpose of this paper is to present an investigation of the effect of different gravity conditions on the penetration mechanism using the two-dimensional Distinct

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an investigation of the effect of different gravity conditions on the penetration mechanism using the two-dimensional Distinct Element Method (DEM), which ranges from high gravity used in centrifuge model tests to low gravity incurred by serial parabolic flight, with the aim of efficiently analyzing cone penetration tests on the lunar surface.

Design/methodology/approach

Seven penetration tests were numerically simulated on loose granular ground under different gravity conditions, i.e. one-sixth, one-half, one, five, ten, 15 and 20 terrestrial gravities. The effect of gravity on the mechanisms is examined with aspect to the tip resistance, deformation pattern, displacement paths, stress fields, stress paths, strain and rotation paths, and velocity fields during the penetration process.

Findings

First, under both low and high gravities, the penetration leads to high gradients of the value and direction of stresses in addition to high gradients in the velocity field near the penetrometer. In addition, the soil near the penetrometer undergoes large rotations of the principal stresses. Second, high gravity leads to a larger rotation of principal stresses and more downward particle motions than low gravity. Third, the tip resistance increases with penetration depth and gravity. Both the maximum (steady) normalized cone tip resistance and the maximum normalized mean (deviatoric) stress can be uniquely expressed by a linear equation in terms of the reciprocal of gravity.

Originality/value

This study investigates the effect of different gravity conditions on penetration mechanisms by using DEM.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

Mahmoud Yazdani, Hamidreza Paseh and Mostafa Sharifzadeh

– The purpose of this paper is to find a convenient contact detection algorithm in order to apply in distinct element simulation.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to find a convenient contact detection algorithm in order to apply in distinct element simulation.

Design/methodology/approach

Taking the most computation effort, the performance of the contact detection algorithm highly affects the running time. The algorithms investigated in this study consist of Incremental Sort-and-Update (ISU) and Double-Ended Spatial Sorting (DESS). These algorithms are based on bounding boxes, which makes the algorithm independent of blocks shapes. ISU and DESS algorithms contain sorting and updating phases. To compare the algorithms, they were implemented in identical examples of rock engineering problems with varying parameters.

Findings

The results show that the ISU algorithm gives lower running time and shows better performance when blocks are unevenly distributed in both axes. The conventional ISU merges the sorting and updating phases in its naïve implementation. In this paper, a new computational technique is proposed based on parallelization in order to effectively improve the ISU algorithm and decrease the running time of numerical analysis in large-scale rock mass projects.

Originality/value

In this approach, the sorting and updating phases are separated by minor changes in the algorithm. This tends to a minimal overhead of running time and a little extra memory usage and then the parallelization of phases can be applied. On the other hand, the time consumed by the updating phase of ISU algorithm is about 30 percent of the total time, which makes the parallelization justifiable. Here, according to the results for the large-scale problems, this improved technique can increase the performance of the ISU algorithm up to 20 percent.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Budong Yang, Yue Jiao and Shuting Lei

To use distinct element simulation (PFC2D) to investigate the relationships between microparameters and macroproperties of the specimens that are modeled by bonded…

1717

Abstract

Purpose

To use distinct element simulation (PFC2D) to investigate the relationships between microparameters and macroproperties of the specimens that are modeled by bonded particles. To determine quantitative relationships between particle level parameters and mechanical properties of the specimens.

Design/methodology/approach

A combined theoretical and numerical approach is used to achieve the objectives. First, theoretical formulations are proposed for the relationships between microparameters and macroproperties. Then numerical simulations are conducted to quantify the relationships.

Findings

The Young's modulus is mainly determined by particle contact modulus and affected by particle stiffness ratio and slightly affected by particle size. The Poisson's ratio is mainly determined by particle stiffness ratio and slightly affected by particle size. The compressive strength can be scaled by either the bond shear strength or the bond normal strength depending on the ratio of the two quantities.

Research limitations/implications

The quantitative relationships between microparameters and macroproperties for parallel‐bonded PFC2D specimens are empirical in nature. Some modifications may be needed to model a specific material. The effects of the particle distribution and bond strength distribution of a PFC2D specimen are very important aspects that deserve further investigation.

Practical implications

The results will provide guidance for people who use distinct element method, especially the PFC2D, to model brittle materials such as rocks and ceramics.

Originality/value

This paper offers some new quantitative relationships between microparameters and macroproperties of a synthetic specimen created using bonded particle model.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1992

RICARDO DOBRY and AND TANG‐TAT NG

A general overview is presented on applications of the discrete element method (DEM) to granular media. A literature survey is performed of static and dynamic simulations…

Abstract

A general overview is presented on applications of the discrete element method (DEM) to granular media. A literature survey is performed of static and dynamic simulations using random arrays of compliant particles, and forty‐two references published mostly in the last ten years are identified and categorized according to a number of relevant criteria. It is concluded that the interest in the use of the technique is rapidly increasing in the research and engineering community, with applications concentrated in soil mechanics, rock mechanics, grain flow and engineering problems. Additional studies and verifications of some numerical aspects of the DEM technique are suggested including parametric studies and comparisons. Program CONBAL‐2 (CONTACT + TRUBAL in 2D) developed by the authors based on TRUBAL created by Strack and Cundall, is described. CONBAL‐2 uses the complete Mindlin solution for the contact between two spheres and thus can be used for small strain and cyclic loading. The program is applied to study the cyclic response of uniform, medium dense to dense rounded quartz sand. Cyclic strain‐controlled loading at constant volume is applied to isotropically consolidated, random arrays of 531 spheres, using cyclic strains ranging from 10–4% to 10–1%. The calculated shear modulus, Gmax, constrained modulus, D, and Poisson's ratio at small strains are correlated with the confining pressure, the porosity of the array, and the coordination number. The calculated variations of secant modulus and damping ratio with cyclic strain compare favourably with the experimental results on sands compiled by Seed and Idriss. Finally, ‘pore water pressure buildup’ and cyclic stiffness degradation of the material with number of cycles is calculated at a cyclic strain of 10–1%, and the prediction is found to represent closely cyclic undrained experiments on sands. The existence of a threshold strain, yt ≈ 10–2%, found experimentally, is also predicted by the simulations.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1992

R. BARBOSA and J. GHABOUSSI

A numerical technique is described for the analysis of multiple interacting deformable bodies undergoing large displacements and rotations. Each body is considered an…

Abstract

A numerical technique is described for the analysis of multiple interacting deformable bodies undergoing large displacements and rotations. Each body is considered an individual discrete unit, which is idealized by a finite element model. Discrete finite element models interact with their surroundings through contact stresses, which are continually updated as the elements move and deform. The method of analysis consists of a finite element formulation based on a generalized explicit updated Lagrangian method. This formulation is a general finite element formulation, that permits the large deformation analysis of both continuum and discontinuum systems. Different validations of the proposed method of analysis, including cases that involve very large rotations, as well as some examples that demonstrate the application of the discrete finite element method to problems in rock mechanics are presented and discussed in the paper.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

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