DOWNLOAD previous article 1. article - 2015/2next article Teja Fabjan, Diego Mas Ivars and Vladimir Vukadin

Numerical simulation of intact rock behaviour via the continuum and Voronoi tesselletion models – a sensitivity analysis


The numerical simulation of intact rock microstructure and its influence on macro-scale behaviour has received a lot of attention in the research community in recent years. Generating a grain-like structure with polygonal area contacts is one of the avenues explored for describing the rock’s microstructure. A Voronoi tessellation implemented in the Universal Distinct-Element Code (UDEC) is used to generate models with a polygonal microstructure that represent intact rock. The mechanical behaviour of the Voronoi polygons is defined by micro-properties, which cannot be measured directly in the laboratory. A numerical calibration procedure is needed to produce the macroscopic response of a model that corresponds to the material behaviour measured during a laboratory experiment. In this research, Brazilian, direct tensile, uniaxial compressive and biaxial test models are constructed to simulate the intact rock behaviour under a standard laboratory stress. An extensive series of parametric sensitivity analyses are executed in order to understand the influence of the input micro-properties on every model test behaviour and predict the relation between the micro-properties and the model’s macro response. The results can be treated as general guidelines for a complete and efficient intact rock calibration procedure. In parallel, a continuum-based model using the Mohr-Coulomb constitutive relationship is running as a benchmark. It has been shown that the Voronoi-based models through their microstructure approach better reproduce the Brazilian to direct tensile strength ratio, and show a better representation of the dilation, crack pattern and post-peak behaviour in comparison to continuum models.


distinct-element method, parametric sensitivity analysis, intact rock, Voronoi tessellation, micromechanical properties, standard laboratory test