Rockfall and Mitigation Evaluation with 3-D Discrete Element Modeling
Rocks falling down a slope bounce, slide, roll, and launch. Cylindrically-shaped rocks pick up speed rolling like a log or barrel, then bounce end-over-end until nearly coming to a stop. The sharp corners of block-shaped rocks break off. Rocks pick up translational and rotational speed, bouncing and launching at greater trajectory heights until impacting the slope with sufficient force to break apart. Smaller fragments may stop relatively quickly, while larger fragments may undergo additional changes in size and shape while continuing to fall down the slope. Factors such as initial rock shape, size, initial fracture persistence, and anisotropic tensile strength can significantly affect rock trajectory heights, energies, and rollouts. This paper presents a numerical method to efficiently and accurately simulate rockfall to design barriers, attenuators, and catchments.
Keywords: Geohazards, Discrete elements, Rocks, Landslides