Combined FEM-DEM: Examples of Beam-Particle Interaction

Marcello G. Teixeira, Kin K. Minato, Andrea F. Borges


One way to solve engineering problems is the simulation that can be done with real or virtual models. A better approximation of reality is achieved through the use of real models. However this procedure is costly and in some situations it is technically impractical. The alternative is the simulation using virtual models, where several tests can be performed at a relatively low cost. One of the most used numerical methods in computer simulation of phenomena modeled by differential equations is the Finite Element Method (FEM). However, the FEM is not suitable for the simulation of systems where the effects of micro-mechanical discontinuity of the geometry should be taken into account, such as engineering problems involving fracture, fragmentation, impact and particulate media, among others. For these cases, the Discrete Element Method (DEM), first introduced by Cundall, interaction between each pair of particles considers the medium as being formed by a set of particles with interaction between each pair of them. But in some cases, it is necessary to take into account both continuous and particulate media. The main objective of this work is the simulation of beam-particle interaction using a computational tool developed in C++ object-oriented, where the beam dynamic is modelled with the FEM and the particles (circles) with the DEM. Among others, we introduce some examples of interaction between a structure and soil.

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