Grain-Based Discrete Element Method (GB-DEM) Modelling of Multi-scale Fracturing in Rocks Under Dynamic Loading

X. F. Li, Q. B. Zhang, H. B. Li, J. Zhao

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167 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to explore dynamic behaviours of fracturing and damage evolution of rock materials at the grain scale. A grain-based discrete element method (GB-DEM) is proposed to reveal microscale characterisation and mineral grain compositions of rock materials realistically. Micro-parameters of GB-DEM are obtained by calibrating quasi-static strengths, elastic modulus, stress–strain curves, and fracture characteristics of igneous rocks. Comprehensive numerical simulations are conducted to compare with dynamic experimental results obtained by the split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB). The reasonability of using the GB-DEM is presented to validate fundamental pre-requisites of the SHPB technique. Combined with crack strain and acoustic emissions, the rate dependency of crack initiation stress threshold and crack damage stress threshold is investigated. The dynamic damage evolution in the form of Weibull distribution is distinctively different from that in static tests and the shape/scale parameters are presented as functions of strain rate. Moreover, microcharacteristics of crack fracturing transition and fracturing patterns formation are discussed in detail. It is found that there exist two classes of mechanical behaviour (i.e., Class I and Class II) observed from stress–strain responses of dynamic tests. Main fracturing surfaces induced by intergranular fractures split the specimen along the direction of stress wave propagation in the type of Class I behaviour. Branching cracks derive the cracks’ nucleation and in turn increases the fragment degree. A shearing band formed near the fracture surface is caused by grain pulverisations, which eventually enhances the sustainability of rocks under dynamic loading. At last, we propose a generalised equation of dynamic increase factor in the range from 10− 5 to 500/s, and also discuss the characteristic strain rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3785–3817
Number of pages33
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Dynamic fracturing
  • Failure mechanisms
  • Grain-based DEM
  • Micro-fracturing
  • Realistic micro-heterogeneity
  • Strain rate

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