Published in Engineering Computations Vol. 32 (4), pp. 1080-1103, 2015
Purpose – Continuum-based discrete element method is an explicit numerical method, which is a combination of block discrete element method (DEM) and FEM. When simulating large deformation problems, such as cutting, blasting, water-like material flowing, the distortion of elements will lead to no convergence of the numerical system. To solve the convergence problem, a particle contact-based meshfree method (PCMM) is introduced in. The paper aims to discuss this issue.
Design/methodology/approach – PCMM is based on traditional particle DEM, and use particle contacts to generate triangular elements. If three particles are contact with each other, the element will be created. Once elements are created, the macroscopic constitutive law could be introduced in. When large deformation of element occurs, the contact relationship between particles will be changed. Those elements that do not meet the contact condition will be deleted, and new elements that coincide with the relationship will be generated. By the deletion and creation of elements, the convergence problem induced by element distortion will be eliminated. To solve FEM and PCMM coupled problems, a point-edge contact model is introduced in, and normal and tangential springs are adopted to transfer the contact force between particles and blocks.
Findings – According to the deletion and recreation of elements based on particle contacts, PCMM could simulate large deformation problems. Some numerical cases (i.e. elastic field testing, uniaxial compression analysis and wave propagation simulation) show the accuracy of PCMM, and others (i.e. soil cutting, contact burst and water-like material flowing) show the rationality of PCMM.
Originality/value – In traditional particle DEM, contact relationships are used to calculate contact forces. But in PCMM, contact relationships are adopted to generate elements. Compared to other meshfree methods, in PCMM, the element automatic deletion and recreation technique is used to solve large deformation problems.