An algorithm for generating mechanically sound sphere packings in geological models

Francois Bonneau and Luc Scholt├Ęs and Hugo Rambure. ( 2020 )
in: Computational Particle Mechanics

Abstract

The discrete element method (DEM) is a powerful tool for simulating complex mechanical behaviors which discretizes the targeted medium with particles. The properties of particle assemblies used in DEM simulations directly impact the behavior of the simulated medium. It is thus of critical importance to generate particle assemblies so as to (1) avoid any bias induced by their fabric, and (2) conform with the structural discontinuities of the medium under consideration. The main objective of this work is to propose an algorithm, inspired by the space filling Apollony fractal, to generate sphere packings in geological objects as a first step toward their mechanical modeling with the DEM. In particular, we assess the relevance of the generated packings for simulating the behavior of a rock-like material, and we discuss the ability of the proposed approach to discretize geological models. The algorithm ensures the tangential conformity of spheres with the model boundaries (internal and external), and enables to adapt the particle size distribution in the vicinity of structures of interest such as, fractures or faults.

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BibTeX Reference

@ARTICLE{,
    author = { Bonneau, Francois and Scholt├Ęs, Luc and Rambure, Hugo },
     title = { An algorithm for generating mechanically sound sphere packings in geological models },
   journal = { Computational Particle Mechanics },
      year = { 2020 },
       doi = { 10.1007/s40571-020-00324-7 },
  abstract = { The discrete element method (DEM) is a powerful tool for simulating complex mechanical behaviors which discretizes the targeted medium with particles. The properties of particle assemblies used in DEM simulations directly impact the behavior of the simulated medium. It is thus of critical importance to generate particle assemblies so as to (1) avoid any bias induced by their fabric, and (2) conform with the structural discontinuities of the medium under consideration. The main objective of this work is to propose an algorithm, inspired by the space filling Apollony fractal, to generate sphere packings in geological objects as a first step toward their mechanical modeling with the DEM. In particular, we assess the relevance of the generated packings for simulating the behavior of a rock-like material, and we discuss the ability of the proposed approach to discretize geological models. The algorithm ensures the tangential conformity of spheres with the model boundaries (internal and external), and enables to adapt the particle size distribution in the vicinity of structures of interest such as, fractures or faults. }
}