Rockfall Impact Parameters on Embankments: A Discrete Element Method Analysis

F. Donze, J. Plassiard
Taylor & Francis
Structural Engineering International
Discrete element method, Embankments, Impact loading, protection structure, Rockfall

The design of protection structures remains a difficult task for high-energy impact, and official regulations do not exist yet. In order to contribute to developing the efficiency of embankments subjected to rockfall impacts, a numerical approach based on the discrete element method (DEM) is proposed to study the impact process. Particular attention is given to the modeling of soil, in quasi-static configurations as well as in impact loading cases. From a reference configuration of an impacted embankment, a parametric study was carried out to investigate the role of the impacting block parameters on the response of the structure. Depending on the major impact parameters’ values, suggestions have been made to help in designing protective embankments.

Keywords: rockfall, impact loading, protection structure, embankments, discrete element method

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