Newcastle Chapter

Discrete Element Modelling in Soil Mechanics

Dr. Stephen van Baars, Postdoctoral research Fellow, University of Sydney

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.

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