Discrete element method for combination of continuous and partical problems

  • Varga, Radek (VSB-TUO Faculty of civil engineering)

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The Discrete Element Method (DEM) is a numerical approach that deals with the motion and interactions of individual elements. This method is mainly used in particle mechanics because it is overshadowed by other techniques such as the finite element method (FEM) when dealing with continuous problems. For this reason, it is not commonly known among structural engineers. However, its use can be found in cases that combine particle and continuum mechanics problems, such as crack propagation in reinforced concrete members. Calculating and optimizing these types of problems using FEM is challenging due to frequent mesh changes or the requirement for difficult-to-detect parameters in standard practice. This post discusses the possibility of using the DEM method with an extension of the beam-bound model (BBM). In this method, a beam element is inserted between the bounded discrete elements to transfer all types of forces and moments. The problem of this method is to define the correct cross-sectional and material characteristics of the individual beam members. In study, we focus on the determination of these parameters and the verification of this method on model examples of reinforced concrete elements such as simply supported and fixed beams.