Influence of the softening stress path on crack development around underground excavations: Insights from 2D-FDEM modelling
Core material softening method has been widely used in two-dimensional tunnel excavation simulation by the combined finite-discrete element method (FDEM). In numerical studies, softening stress paths (generally described by critical kinetic energy (CKE), softening time step (STS) and softening curve (SC)) usually have a significant influence on simulation results and computational efficiency. There is not a direct way to determine these three parameters. In the present study, a series of numerical studies by the FDEM are performed to discuss the effects of these three parameters on the simulation results and calculation efficiency in a circular tunnel excavation project with a 4 m diameter. The results show that the CKE is closely related to the model size and rock density. The CKE can be obtained from the model kinetic energy curve, and a selection method is proposed. The STS value of 50 000 steps is optimal. To obtain a uniform and stable propagation process of the surrounding rock crack, the SC should be in an exponential function. The engineering case shows that the simulation results are consistent well with the field observations as the softening stress paths are calibrated by the proposed method.
Keywords: Combined finite-discrete element method (FDEM), Crack development, Softening stress path, Underground excavations, Model kinetic energy curve,