In general, mechanical and hydraulic processes are not independent of each other in jointed rock masses. Therefore, the study on hydro-mechanical coupling of geomaterials should be a center of attention in rock mechanics. Rocks in their nature contain discontinuities whose presence extremely influences mechanical and hydraulic characteristics of the medium. Assuming this effect, experimental investigations on intact rock cannot help to identify jointed rock mass behavior. Hence, numerical methods are being used for this purpose. In this paper, water inflow into a tunnel under significant water table has been estimated using hydro-mechanical discrete element method (HM-DEM). Besides, effects of geomechanical and geometrical parameters including constitutive model, friction angle, joint spacing, dip of joint sets, and stress factor on the estimated inflow rate have been studied. Results demonstrate that inflow rates are not identical for different constitutive models. Also, inflow rate reduces with increased spacing and stress factor.
Rockfills are widely used in civil engineering, such as dams, railways, and airport foundations in mountain areas. A significant long-term post-construction settlement may affect the serviceability or even the safety of rockfill infrastructures. The creep behavior of rockfills is influenced by a number of factors, such as particle size, strength and shape, water condition and stress level. However, the effect of particle shape on rockfill creep still remains poorly understood, which deserves a careful investigation. Particle-based discrete element method (DEM) was used to simulate the creep behavior of rockfills under different boundary conditions. Both angular and rounded particles were considered in this numerical study, in order to investigate the influence of particle shape. The preliminary results showed that angular particles experience more breakages and larger creep strains under one-dimensional compression than rounded particles. On the contrary, larger creep strains were observed in he rounded specimens in the direct shear test. The mechanism responsible for this difference is that the possibility of the existence of key particle in rounded particles is higher than that in angular particles. The above simulations demonstrate that the influence of particle shape on the creep behavior of rockfills can be simulated by DEM properly. The method of DEM simulation may facilitate our understanding of deformation properties of rockfill materials.
In the process of recovering oil in weak sandstone formations, the strength of sandstones around the wellbore is weakened due to the increase of effective stress/load from the completion activities around the cavity. The weakened and de-bonded sandstone may be eroded away by the produced fluid, which is termed sand production. It is one of the major trending subjects in the petroleum industry because of its significant negative impacts, as well as some observed positive impacts. For efficient sand management therefore, there has been need for a reliable study tool to understand the mechanism of sanding. One method of studying sand production is the use of the widely recognized Discrete Element Method (DEM), Particle Flow Code (PFC3D) which represents sands as granular individual elements bonded together at contact points. However, there is limited knowledge of the particle-scale behavior of the weak sandstone, and the parameters that affect sanding. This paper aims to investigate the reliability of using PFC3D and a simple Darcy flow in understanding the sand production behavior of a weak sandstone. An isotropic tri-axial test on a weak oil sandstone sample was first simulated at a confining stress of 1MPa to calibrate and validate the parallel bond models of PFC3D using a 10m height and 10m diameter solid cylindrical model. The effect of the confining stress on the number of bonds failure was studied using this cylindrical model. With the calibrated data and sample material properties obtained from the tri-axial test, simulations without and with fluid flow were carried out to check on the effect of Darcy flow on bonds failure using the same model geometry. The fluid flow network comprised of every four particles connected with tetrahedral flow pipes with a central pore or flow domain. Parametric studies included the effects of confining stress, and fluid pressure; as well as validating flow rate – permeability relationship to verify Darcy’s fluid flow law. The effect of model size scaling on sanding was also investigated using 4m height, 2m diameter model. The parallel bond model successfully calibrated the sample’s strength of 4.4MPa, showing a sharp peak strength before strain-softening, similar to the behavior of real cemented sandstones. There seems to be an exponential increasing relationship for the bigger model, but a curvilinear shape for the smaller model. The presence of the Darcy flow induced tensile forces and increased the number of broken bonds. For the parametric studies, flow rate has a linear relationship with permeability at constant pressure head. The higher the fluid flow pressure, the higher the number of broken bonds/sanding. The DEM PFC3D is a promising tool to studying the micromechanical behavior of cemented sandstones.
The problem of toughening in brittle materials reinforced by fibers is complex, involving all of the mechanical properties of fibers, matrix and the fiber/matrix interface, as well as the geometry of the fiber. Development of new numerical methods appropriate to toughening simulation and analysis is necessary. In this work, we have performed simulations and analysis of toughening in brittle matrix reinforced by randomly distributed fibers by means of the discrete elements method. At first, we put forward a mechanical model of toughening contributed by random fibers. Then with a numerical program, we investigated the stress, damage and bridging force in the composite material when a crack appeared in the brittle matrix. From the results obtained, we conclude that: (i) fibers of high strength and low elasticity modulus are beneficial to toughening; (ii) fibers of relatively high elastic modulus compared to the matrix may result in substantial matrix damage due to spalling effect; (iii) employment of high-strength synthetic fibers is a good option for toughening. We expect that the combination of the discrete element method (DEM) with the finite element method (FEM) can increase the versatility and efficiency of the software developed. The present work can guide the design of ceramic composites of high performance through the optimization of the parameters.
A typical flexible pavement structure consists of the surface, base, sub-base and subgrade soil. The loading traffic is transferred from the top layer with higher stiffness to the layer below with less stiffness. Under normal traffic loading, the behaviour of flexible pavement is very complex and can be predicted by using the repeated load triaxial test equipment in the laboratory. However, the nature of the repeated load triaxial testing procedure is considered time-consuming, complicated and expensive, and it is a challenge to carry out as a routine test in the laboratory. Therefore, the current paper proposes a numerical approach to simulate the repeated load triaxial test by employing the discrete element method. A sample with particle size ranging from 2.36mm to 19.0mm was constructed. Material properties, which included normal stiffness, shear stiffness, coefficient of friction, maximum dry density and particle density, were used as the input for the simulation. The sample was then subjected to a combination of deviator and confining stress and it was found that the discrete element method is able to simulate the repeated load triaxial test in the laboratory.
An original Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) method to tackle the problem of particulate flows at moderate to high concentration and finite Reynolds number is presented. Our method is built on the framework established by Glowinski and his coworkers  in the sense that we use their Distributed Lagrange Multiplier/Fictitious Domain (DLM/FD) formulation and their operator-splitting idea but differs in the treatment of particle collisions. The novelty of our contribution relies on replacing the simple artificial repulsive force based collision model usually employed in the literature by an efficient Discrete Element Method (DEM) granular solver. The use of our DEM solver enables us to consider particles of arbitrary shape (at least convex) and to account for actual contacts, in the sense that particles actually touch each other, in contrast with the simple repulsive force based collision model. We recently upgraded our serial code, GRIFF 1 , to full MPI capabilities. Our new code, PeliGRIFF 2, is developed under the framework of the full MPI open source platform PELICANS . The new MPI capabilities of PeliGRIFF open new perspectives in the study of particulate flows and significantly increase the number of particles that can be considered in a full DNS approach: O(100000) in 2D and O(10000) in 3D. Results on the 2D/3D sedimentation/fluidization of isometric polygonal/polyedral particles with collisions are presented.