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Module 12: Numerical Modelling in Rock Engineering LECTURE 40

12. 3 Continuum method and Discontinuum method

An important difference between the continuum and discrete methods is the treatment of displacement compatibility conditions. In the continuum methods, the displacement compatibility must be enforced between internal elements, which is automatic in the cases of the FDM and BEM, but for the FEM it is maintained by keeping constant element-node connectivity topology and consistent orders of the trial (shape) functions between the neighbouring elements. However, displacement compatibility is not required between blocks in the DEM, and is replaced by the contact conditions between blocks with specially developed constitutive models for point contacts or fractures. The choice of continuum or discrete methods depends on many problem-specific factors, but mainly on the problem scale and fracture system geometry. Figure 12 4 illustrates the alternative choices for different fracture circumstances in rock mechanics problems. Continuum approaches should be used for rock masses with no fractures or with many fractures, the behaviour of the latter being established through equivalent properties established by a homogenization process (Figure 12 a-d). The continuum approach can be used if only a few fractures are present and no fracture opening and no complete block detachment is possible. The discrete approach is most suitable for moderately fractured rock masses where the number of fractures too large for continuum-with fracture-elements approach, or where large-scale displacements of individual blocks are possible.

In continuum, rock/soil mass represented as continuum, attempts to approximate the connectivity of elements and continuity of displacements and stresses between elements. In discontinuum method, rock/soil mass represented as assemblage of distinct intersecting blocks. Blocks are subdivided into deformable finite difference mesh which follows linear or non-linear stress-strain law. In the equivalent continuum approach models the jointed rock mass as a continuum with the equivalent material properties that represent implicitly the effects of the joints with an appropriate associated constitutive model.

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Module 12: Numerical Modelling in Rock Engineering  Figure 12.4: Continuum and discontinuum choices for different fracture circumstances in rock engineering Equivalent continuum

discrete approaches

Figure 12.5 : Modelling of rock mass as equivalent continuum and discontinuum approach

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Module 12: Numerical Modelling in Rock Engineering  (a) Figure 12.6: Continuum modellling of rock mass mass

340 (b) b) Discontinuum modelling of rock

Module 12: Numerical Modelling in Rock Engineering 12. 4 Explicit vs implicit approach

Implicit solution is one in which the calculation of current quantities in one time step are based on the quantities calculated in the previous time step. This is called Euler time integration scheme where, even if large time steps are taken, the solution remains stable. Scheme is also called an unconditionally stable scheme. But there is a disadvantage, that this algorithm requires the calculation of inverse of stiffness matrix and calculation of an inverse is a computationally intensive step. When non linearities are present, the stiffness matrix itself will become a function of displacement, and it becomes much more complex. On the other hand, in an explicit analysis, instead of solving for {x}, we go for solving {x"}. Thus we bypass the inversion of the complex stiffness matrix, and we just have to invert the mass matrix [M]. In case lower order elements are used, which an explicit analysis always prefers, the mass matrix is also a lumped matrix, or a diagonal matrix, whose inversion is a single step process of just making the diagonal elements reciprocal. But disadvantage is that the Euler Time integration scheme is not used in this, and hence it is not unconditionally stable. So we need to use very small time steps. Hence in a static loading situation (or quasi static), we would prefer to have big time steps, so that solution can be obtained in very less number of steps (usually less than 10, and more often than not a single step), even though such steps may be computationally intensive. Hence for all such situations, and implicit analysis is used. On the other hand in a dynamic scenario, especially in impact loadings, crash tests, and such simulations, an explicit analysis would be preferred. It is a matter of trade off between easier and computationally lighter analysis or a faster analysis.

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Module 12: Numerical Modelling in Rock Engineering 12.5 Numerical problem solving using FEM

Building geometry

Meshing/ Zoning

Choosing constitutive model and assigning material properties

Defining boundary and initial condition

Numerical computation

Post processing/visualisation & interpretation

A detailed description on each of these aspects may be available in any of the text books on FEM. How well the grid boundaries influence the results is an important aspect and therefore the boundaries have to be selected judiciously. The density of the zoning is also very crucial and a finer mesh is suggested at locations where more precise information is desired. Density must be highest where high stress or strain concentration is expected. Greatest accuracy may be achieved when the element aspect ratio is near unity and a smooth transition is preferred when changing from smooth to course zoning. A suitable constitutive model need to be adopted for the analysis. A simple model like elastic or elaso-plastic is preferred initially as more complex the constitutive model, more number of input parameters and is usually difficult to get those parameters from laboratory or field tests. Depending on the problem and the available computational resources, one can chose to analyse any geotechnical problems as plane strain, plane stress or even 3D may be used. A brief description on the different type of analysis is presented here.

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Module 12: Numerical Modelling in Rock Engineering Plane strain and plane stress Plane strain is the state of strain in which the strain normal to the plane and the shear strain assumed to be zero. Many rock engineering and geotechnical problems can be assumed to be plane strain (2D assumption) without significant loss of accuracy of the solution. In plane strain,

one dimension must be considerably longer than the other two.

strain along the out of plane direction can be assumed to be zero.

Plane stress is state of stress in which the normal stress and the shear stress directed perpendicular the plane assumed to be zero. In geotechnical engineering applications, some problems like analysis of circular footings, or analysis of cylindrical specimens may be modeled as axi-symmetric assumptions. a) Plane strain problems

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Module 12: Numerical Modelling in Rock Engineering  b) Plane stress problems

c) Axi-symmetric problem

Figure 12.7: Different type of numerical modelling problems Figure 12.8: Thin plate as plane stress problem (Timoshenko and Goodier, 1951)

If a thin plate is loaded by forces applied at the boundary, parallel to the plate and distributed uniformly over the thickness (figure 12.8), the stress component σ z , τ xz and τ yz are zero on both faces of the plate and it may be assumed, tentatively that they are zero also within the plate. The state of stress is then specified by σ x , σ y , τ xy only and us called plane stress.

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Module 12: Numerical Modelling in Rock Engineering If the dimension of the body in the z-direction is very large, e.g. a long retaining wall or a long tunnel, the cross section is assumed same throughout, it is sufficient to consider only a slice. The components u and v of the displacement are functions of x and y but are independent of the longitudinal co-ordinate z. Since, the longitudinal displacement w is zero, The longitudinal normal stress σ z can be found in terms of σ x and σ y by means of Hook's Law. Since, ε z = 0, we find, 345