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Discrete Element Modelling of Dynamic Behaviour of Rockfills for Resisting High Speed Projectile Penetration

Tingting Zhao1, Y. T. Feng2,*, Jie Zhang1, Zhihua Wang1, Zhiyong Wang1

1 College of Mechanical and Vehical Engineering, Taiyuan University of Technology, Taiyuan, 030024, China
2 Zienkiewicz Centre for Computational Engineering, Swansea University, Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK

* Corresponding Author: Y. T. Feng. Email:

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Computational Mechanics of Granular Materials and its Engineering Applications)

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2021, 127(2), 721-735.


This paper presents a convex polyhedral based discrete element method for modelling the dynamic behaviour of rockfills for resisting high speed projectile penetration. The contact between two convex polyhedra is defined by the Minkowski overlap and determined by the GJK and EPA algorithm. The contact force is calculated by a Minkowski overlap based normal model. The rotational motion of polyhedral particles is solved by employing a quaternion based orientation representation scheme. The energy-conserving nature of the polyhedral DEM method ensures a robust and effective modelling of convex particle systems. The method is applied to simulate the dynamic behaviour of a rockfill system under impact of a high speed projectile. The rockfill sample is generated by a three-dimensional Voronoi meso method with a specific particle size distribution. The penetrating process of the projectile striking the rockfill target is simulated. Some physical quantities associated with the projectile such as the residual velocity, penetration resistance, and deflection angle are monitored which can reflect the influence of the characteristics of the rockfill target on its anti-penetration performance. It can be concluded that the developed polyhedral DEM method is a very promising numerical approach in analysing the dynamic behaviour of rockfill systems subject to high speed projectile impact.


Cite This Article

Zhao, T., Feng, Y. T., Zhang, J., Wang, Z., Wang, Z. (2021). Discrete Element Modelling of Dynamic Behaviour of Rockfills for Resisting High Speed Projectile Penetration. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 127(2), 721–735.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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