From discrete to continuum modelling of boundary value problems in geomechanics: An integrated FEM‐DEM approach

A. Argilaga, D. Cailerie, G. Combe, J. Desrues, S. Dal Pont, T. K. Nguyen, V. Richefeu
International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
dem, double‐scale approach, FEM, Granular materials, Numerical Modelling, second gradient regularisation

Double‐scale numerical methods constitute an effective tool for simultaneously representing the complex nature of geomaterials and treating real‐scale engineering problems such as a tunnel excavation or a pressuremetre at a reasonable numerical cost. This paper presents an approach coupling discrete elements (DEM) at the microscale with finite elements (FEM) at the macroscale. In this approach, a DEM‐based numerical constitutive law is embedded into a standard FEM formulation. In this regard, an exhaustive discussion is presented on how a 2D/3D granular assembly can be used to generate, step by step along the overall computation process, a consistent Numerically Homogenised Law. The paper also focuses on some recent developments including a comprehensive discussion of the efficiency of Newton‐like operators, the introduction of a regularisation technique at the macroscale by means of a second gradient framework, and the development of parallelisation techniques to alleviate the computational cost of the proposed approach. Some real‐scale problems taking into account the material spatial variability are illustrated, proving the numerical efficiency of the proposed approach and the benefit of a particle‐based strategy.

Keywords: DEM, double‐scale approach, FEM, granular materials, numerical modelling, second gradient regularisation,

Access Full Text