A Coupled Extended-Finite-Discrete Element Method: On the Different Contact Schemes between Continua and Discontinua
Abstract:Recently, advanced geotechnical engineering problems
related to soil movement, particle loss, and modeling of local failure
(i.e. discontinua) as well as modeling the in-contact structures (i.e.
continua) are of the great interest among researchers. The aim of this
research is to meet the requirements with respect to the modeling
of the above-mentioned two different domains simultaneously. To
this end, a coupled numerical method is introduced based on
Discrete Element Method (DEM) and eXtended-Finite Element
Method (X-FEM). In the coupled procedure, DEM is employed to
capture the interactions and relative movements of soil particles as
discontinua, while X-FEM is utilized to model in-contact structures as
continua, which may consist of different types of discontinuities. For
verification purposes, the new coupled approach is utilized to examine
benchmark problems including different contacts between/within
continua and discontinua. Results are validated by comparison with
those of existing analytical and numerical solutions. This study
proves that extended-finite-discrete element method can be used
to robustly analyze not only contact problems, but also other
types of discontinuities in continua such as (i) crack formations
and propagations, (ii) voids and bimaterial interfaces, and (iii)
combination of previous cases. In essence, the proposed method
can be used vastly in advanced soil-structure interaction problems to
investigate the micro and macro behaviour of the surrounding soil and
the response of the embedded structure that contains discontinuities.
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