An alternative to the Finite Element Method, the Discrete Element Method is particularly suitable for modelling granular materials and for studying the relationship between `micro’ and `macro’ behaviour. Discrete Elements allow contacts between elements to be created or broken and can therefore be used to gain insight into the processes of nucleation and growth of a crack. Current research at the University of Sydney will also be discussed, namely a project aiming to improve our understanding of failure mechanisms of underground openings in jointed rocks and to predict failure loads.
Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.