Simulations of fracture and fragmentation of geologic media using combined FEM/DEM analysis.

Morris, J.P., Rubin, M.B., Block, G.I., and M.P. Bonner, 2006.
Presented at International Journal of Impact Engineering, 33: 463 – 473.


Results are presented from a study investigating the effect of explosive and impact loading on geological media using the Livermore distinct element code (LDEC). LDEC was initially developed to simulate tunnels and other structures in jointed rock masses with large numbers of intact polyhedral blocks. However, underground structures in jointed rock subjected to explosive loading can fail due to both rock motion along preexisting interfaces and fracture of the intact rock mass itself. Many geophysical applications, such as projectile penetration into rock, concrete targets, and boulder fields, require a combination of continuum and discrete methods in order to predict the formation and interaction of the fragments produced. In an effort to model these types of problems, we have implemented Cosserat point theory and cohesive element formulations into the current version of LDEC, thereby allowing for dynamic fracture and combined finite element/discrete element simulations. Results of a large-scale LLNL simulation of an explosive shock wave impacting an elaborate underground facility are also discussed. It is confirmed that persistent joints lead to an underestimation of the impact energy needed to fill the tunnel systems with rubble. Non-persistent joint patterns, which are typical of real geologies, inhibit shear within the surrounding rock mass and significantly increase the load required to collapse a tunnel.