Influence of mesh orientation in discrete element method simulations of fracture processes
The lattice discrete element method was employed by the authors in numerical determinations of the pre and post peak-failure response of quasi-brittle systems in which tensile fracture typically controls the dominant failure modes. In previous publications, the approach has also been applied to structures that fail by shear or unconfined compression. It was also verified that discrete element method models predict the strength of cubic and cylindrical samples subjected to confining lateral pressures up to about 20% of the vertical stress, although overestimating the effect of confinement. One of the factors responsible for this overestimation may be associated to the restraints on the fracture paths introduced by numerical methods such as discrete element method or finite element method . In order to determine a bound on model error in discrete element method numerical predictions, in this article, the influence of the mesh orientation on simulations of fracture propagation in quasi-brittle materials is examined in case of a plate subjected to a nominally homogeneous stress state.
Keywords: Discrete element method, non-homogeneous quasi-brittle materials, fracture, mesh orientation, model error