Numerical and theoretical research on stress distribution in the loosening zone of the trapdoor problem
The traditional theory of soil arching effect was developed on the assumption that stress distribution in the loosening zone is uniform. However, because of the deflection of principal stress’ direction, the stress distribution in the loosening zone is actually ununiform. For the evaluation of principal stress axis deflection and stress redistribution, a discrete element method numerical model of trapdoor problem is established for the simulation of soil arching effect. Based on the numerical results, an arc shape of major principal stress trajectory and uniform horizontal stress distribution at the same depth of the loosening zone are adopted. An analytical model is raised to estimate the average loosening earth pressure acting on the trapdoor and stress distribution in the loosening zone at a limit state. In addition, comparison studies are carried out between the predictions of the proposed solutions and discrete element method numerical results as well as available model test results, thereby validating the accuracy of the proposed theoretical model. Both numerical and theoretical results indicate that the vertical stress distribution in the loosening zone is obviously ununiform. The load acting in the middle of loosening zone is transferred toward two sides so that the vertical stress distribution in loosening zone is concave.
Keywords: DEM, loosening earth pressure, loosening zone, soil arching effect, trapdoor problem,