Effect of discretization at laboratory and large scales during discrete element modelling of brittle failure

Abstract : The paper investigates the mode I fracture propagation in brittle rocks using numerical simulations based on the discrete element method. The rock material is represented as an assembly of bonded particles interacting according to an elastic-brittle contact law. The formulation of the method includes the ability for near neighbour interactions to occur so as to control the density of interparticle bonds in the medium, and thus ensures the non-dependence of the model's predictions with respect to its discretization. The adopted model was calibrated to reproduce the behaviour of a granitic rock with the aim to focus more specifically on brittle failure. Numerical samples with different discretizations were generated and subjected to different loading paths. Firstly, the response of laboratory scale pre-cracked specimens subjected to direct tension and three points bending tests was studied. Then, the fracture process zone was characterized by evaluating the volume of the damaged zone as well as the energy dissipated by cracks for different discretizations. It is shown that the proposed approach ensures the fracture process zone characteristics to be independent on the discretization of the model. In addition, large scale simulations of a well-documented underground excavation were performed in order to assess the model's capability to describe brittle failure mechanisms at the structure scale. The results confirm the independence of the model with respect to its discretization and highlight the pertinence of the proposed discrete approach for the study of large scale boundary value problems.
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Journal articles
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Submitted on : Friday, August 3, 2018 - 2:01:53 PM
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Jabrane Hamdi, Luc Scholtes, Mountaka Souley, Marwan Al Heib. Effect of discretization at laboratory and large scales during discrete element modelling of brittle failure. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, Pergamon, 2017, 100, pp.48-61. ⟨10.1016/j.ijrmms.2017.10.022⟩. ⟨ineris-01853527⟩

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