TY - JOUR

T1 - Critical contact stiffness concept and simulation of crack generation in particle models of large length-scales

AU - Zhao, Chongbin

AU - Hobbs, B. E.

AU - Ord, A.

AU - Peng, Shenglin

PY - 2009/1/1

Y1 - 2009/1/1

N2 - When the particle simulation method is used to simulate large length-scale problems, such as crustal length-scale problems in the field of geology, it is necessary to include gravity effect into the particle model. To consider gravity effect appropriately, there is a minimum value requirement for the contact stiffness of a particle so that unexpected particle overlap can be avoided. This minimum value is called the critical contact stiffness of a particle due to gravity effect. Using the vertical force equilibrium condition of a particle at the bottom of a two-dimensional particle model, a theoretical formula has been successfully derived for determining the critical contact stiffness of the particle in this paper. For the two-dimensional particle model consisting of circular particles of unit thickness, there is a relationship between the critical contact stiffness of a particle and the critical elastic modulus of the particle material when a linear-elastic-contact model between any two particles is used. Since the elastic moduli of most crustal rocks are greater than the corresponding critical elastic modulus of the particle material, it has been theoretically demonstrated that the particle simulation method, which is based on the linear-elastic-contact model between any two particles, is suitable for simulating gravity effect within the particle model of a large length-scale. The related simulation results have demonstrated the usefulness of the particle simulation method for simulating spontaneous crack generation patterns within brittle crustal rocks.

AB - When the particle simulation method is used to simulate large length-scale problems, such as crustal length-scale problems in the field of geology, it is necessary to include gravity effect into the particle model. To consider gravity effect appropriately, there is a minimum value requirement for the contact stiffness of a particle so that unexpected particle overlap can be avoided. This minimum value is called the critical contact stiffness of a particle due to gravity effect. Using the vertical force equilibrium condition of a particle at the bottom of a two-dimensional particle model, a theoretical formula has been successfully derived for determining the critical contact stiffness of the particle in this paper. For the two-dimensional particle model consisting of circular particles of unit thickness, there is a relationship between the critical contact stiffness of a particle and the critical elastic modulus of the particle material when a linear-elastic-contact model between any two particles is used. Since the elastic moduli of most crustal rocks are greater than the corresponding critical elastic modulus of the particle material, it has been theoretically demonstrated that the particle simulation method, which is based on the linear-elastic-contact model between any two particles, is suitable for simulating gravity effect within the particle model of a large length-scale. The related simulation results have demonstrated the usefulness of the particle simulation method for simulating spontaneous crack generation patterns within brittle crustal rocks.

KW - Brittle rocks

KW - Crack generation

KW - Critical contact stiffness

KW - Gravity effect

KW - Large length-scale

KW - Particle simulation method

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=56949099458&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.compgeo.2008.03.001

DO - 10.1016/j.compgeo.2008.03.001

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:56949099458

VL - 36

SP - 81

EP - 92

JO - Computers and Geotechnics

JF - Computers and Geotechnics

SN - 0266-352X

IS - 1-2

ER -