Analysis Of Pile Behavior In Granular Soils Using DEM

Kress, Jeremy G.
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2010
We propose the discrete element method (DEM) as a complimentary alternative to analytical solutions and FEM models for the analysis of pile response. DEM is a novel approach to the engineering design of deep foundations which can be used to provide insight into the mechanics of soil-soil and soil-structure interaction. It is common to use analytical, empirical, and semi-empirical methods to predict pile behavior, where if granular properties, pile length, or load orientation change, then significant adjustments are made in the design sequence. DEM provides a more uniform approach in granular soils. Based on constitutive force-displacement relationships and laws of motion in rigid and elastic bodies, few changes must be made for a wide variety grain types, pile types, embedment, and load orientation. Preliminary results for simulation of a single pile are qualitatively consistent with results from conventional design procedures and also provide significant information not available from other analyses (e.g., local information about interface failure during shear). Importantly, these analyses are portable to a variety of pile types and installation procedures, which may not be the case for empirical approaches. Given consistent increases in computing power and rapid advances in model speed and sophistication, the DEM should prove to be a robust method for design and the analysis of pile response in granular soils.
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