Using the Discrete Element Method to Simulate the Effects of Volcanic Ash Particles Falling on a Flat Roof Structure

Philip Kwame Quainoo
The University of Northampton, UK
Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology
Prof Nick Petford and Prof Stefan Kaczmarczyk
2016 - 2020

This study aims to propose a revision of the building regulations to make the existing and future European buildings more resilient. A model and computer simulation are developed to investigate the effect of volcanic ash falling on building structures in the context of the current EN1991 code [1].

The Discrete Element Method (DEM) simulation results are used to predict the uneven distribution of the volcanic ash loads on the roof surface, which is then transferred through the EDEM Add-in to ANSYS simulation software platform to determine the stress levels.

The results of the study will have a potential impact on the designs of buildings and roofs. This will benefit policymakers and building regulators and will improve safety standards within volcanically prone areas.

[1] N 1991 – Eurocode 1: Actions on Structures Part 1-3 General actions – snow loads.

The EDEM software enabled me to simulate the volcanic ash particles’ deposition on the building roof models. The EDEM support team has been very prompt in response to my questions, and the EDEM webpages provide excellent webinar and tutorial sections. The software is user friendly and offers flexibility and interfaces with other computer simulation platforms (e.g. ANSYS). I am looking forward to using this software after my current studies are completed and also to introducing the EDEM tools to other researchers.

Philip Kwame Quainoo The University of Northampton