Particle simulation of spontaneous crack generation problems in large-scale quasi-static systems

Chongbin Zhao, B. E. Hobbs, A. Ord, P. Hornby, Shenglin Peng, Liangming Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)


To extend the application range of the distinct element method from a laboratory scale into a large scale such as a geological scale, we need to deal with an upscale issue associated with simulating spontaneous crack generation problems in large-scale quasi-static systems. Toward this direction, three important simulation issues, which may affect the quality of the particle simulation results of a quasi-static system, have been addressed in details in this paper. The first simulation issue is how to determine the particle-scale mechanical properties of a particle from the measured macroscopic mechanical properties of rocks. The second simulation issue is that the fictitious time, rather than the physical time, is used in the particle simulation of a quasi-static problem. The third simulation issue is that the conventional loading procedure used in the distinct element method is conceptually inaccurate, at least from the force propagation point of view. A new loading procedure is proposed to solve the conceptual problem resulting from the third simulation issue. The proposed loading procedure is comprised of two main types of periods, a loading period and a frozen period. Using the proposed loading procedure, the parameter selection problem stemming from the first issue can be somewhat solved. Since the second issue is an inherent one, it is strongly recommended that a particle-size sensitivity analysis of at least two different models, which have the same geometry but different smallest particle sizes, be carried out to confirm the particle simulation result of a large-scale quasi-static system. The related simulation results have demonstrated the usefulness and correctness of the proposed loading procedure for dealing with spontaneous crack generation problems in large-scale quasi-static geological systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2302-2329
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


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