2021 – An Overview to Mechanical Behaviour of Rockfill, Focus on Numerical Modelling using DEM

Reza Asadi, Mahdi M. Disfani, Behrooz Ghahreman-Nejad

Rockfill, a granular material with particle sizes usually in the range of 2 cm to 1 m, is commonly used as the main construction material in a range of civil engineering applications such as water and tailings retaining embankment dams. Rockfill’s complex behaviour mainly stems from its inherently large particle size grading on one hand and its discrete and heterogeneous nature on the other hand. The investigation of mechanical behaviour of rockfill requires expensive and time-consuming laboratory testing in large apparatuses, which are scarce. This highlights the importance of numerical investigation techniques such as Discrete Element Method (DEM) in better understanding of rockfill properties. In this paper initially a concise and comprehensive overview of effective parameters on Rockfill behaviour are presented followed by the discussion on analytical and numerical methods for investigation of the mechanical behaviour of Rockfill.

Finally, a combination of Replacement and Bonded-Particles (clusters) methods is proposed so the effects of particle shape and breakage, which are among the most effective parameters, can be adequately investigated. The preliminary results of DEM modelling are also presented which show a good agreement with the expected micro-mechanical behaviour of rockfill.

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