Computational assessment of baffle performance against rapid granular flows

Yu Huang (Lead / Corresponding author), Bei Zhang, Chongqiang Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid granular flows are one of the most catastrophic geo-disasters frequently encountered in mountainous areas. The baffle structure has been demonstrated to be an effective measure for decreasing the destructivity of such geo-disasters. In this paper, a flow–baffle interaction model based on the 3D discrete element method is adopted to assess the baffle performance, hoping to facilitate the optimal design of baffles. A multiple-indicator-based framework, which covers three aspects and six metrics, is proposed and used to thoroughly and quantitatively assess the energy dissipation capacity, deposition regulation function, and failure potential of the baffle structure considering the particle size and baffle shape effect. Results indicate that the particle size significantly affects the baffle performance, and several linear relationships are proposed to account for the effect of the particle size, which may serve to improve engineering structural design. The square baffle performs better than the triangular baffle even though they have identical transverse blockage. Investigation of the patterns of the force chain distribution in granular flows confirms that the flow–baffle interaction is controlled by the evolution of force chains. The particle size and baffle shape effect can be explained by the difference in stability of arches that form during flow–baffle interaction. In addition, the quantification of energy loss due to inelastic contact between particles and baffles reveals that enhanced particle–particle interaction is the dominant energy dissipation mechanism, accounting for more than 80–90% of the total energy loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-501
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Early online date24 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Baffle performance
  • Baffle shape effect
  • Discrete element method
  • Flow-structure interaction
  • Particle size effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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