Published in Mathematical Geosciences, Vol. 53, pp. 81–103, 2021
Notwithstanding its complexity in terms of numerical implementation and limitations in coping with problems involving extreme deformation, the finite element method (FEM) offers the advantage of solving complicated mathematical problems with diverse boundary conditions. Recently, a version of the particle finite element method (PFEM) was proposed for analyzing large-deformation problems. In this version of the PFEM, the finite element formulation, which was recast as a standard optimization problem and resolved efficiently using advanced optimization engines, was adopted for incremental analysis whilst the idea of particle approaches was employed to tackle mesh issues resulting from the large deformations. In this paper, the numerical implementation of this version of PFEM is detailed, revealing some key numerical aspects that are distinct from the conventional FEM, such as the solution strategy, imposition of displacement boundary conditions, and treatment of contacts. Additionally, the correctness and robustness of this version of PFEM in conducting failure and post-failure analyses of landslides are demonstrated via a stability analysis of a typical slope and a case study on the 2008 Tangjiashan landslide, China. Comparative studies between the results of the PFEM simulations and available data are performed qualitatively as well as quantitatively.