Continuum (PFEM) and discrete (DEM) modelling of pile installation in rocks

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Recent advancements in computational efficiency have enabled the application of advanced numerical models to solve challenging large-displacement soil structure interaction problems such as pile installation in non­linear irreversible materials prone to softening type of behaviour. Such challenging problems however require specialized approaches due to material and geometrical non linearities combined to the large deformation soil­-structure interaction. This paper presents a comparison of two approaches for modelling open ended (OE) pile installation in soft, crushable and collapsible rocks. The first approach employs the Discrete Element Method (DEM), which represents the rock as separate particles bonded together, and introduces a new contact model for highly porous rocks. The second approach uses the Geotechnical Particle Finite Element Method (GPFEM) and investigates the coupled hydromechanical effects during pile installation using a robust and mesh-­independent implementation of an elastic-plastic constitutive model at large strains. The DEM approach explores the micromechanical features of pile plugging and unveils the mechanisms behind radial stress distributions inside and outside the plug. The study highlights the strengths and limitations of each modelling technique, providing insights into the behaviour of OE piles installed in soft rocks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2024 UK Association for Computational Mechanics Conference
Subtitle of host publicationDurham, UK, 10-12 April 2024.
EditorsWilliam M. Coombs
PublisherDurham University
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2024
EventAnnual Conference of the UK Association for Computational Mechanics. - Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Apr 202413 May 2024


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the UK Association for Computational Mechanics.
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Displacement pile
  • Large deformations
  • DEM
  • Installation
  • Chalk


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