Discrete and continuum numerical modelling of soil arching between piles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Geomechanics
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Research units

  • Universite Grenoble Alpes


The aim of the study involves investigating the soil-arching phenomenon between piles by adopting two different numerical methods. The first method is the discrete element method that allows analysis of the phenomena at the microscopic level in which soil is represented by an assembly of particles of various shapes that interact with friction at contact points. The method naturally captures the mechanical behavior of frictional materials. The second method is the finite difference method that examines the problem at the macroscopic level. Specifically, soils are considered homogeneous materials from the macroscopic view-point. In the continuum approach, an appropriate constitute model that considers the shear resistance degradation is used to capture the evolution of frictional materials as obtained by using the discrete approach. The numerical microparameters and macro-parameters for the two numerical models are calibrated from triaxial test simulations. A comparison between these two approaches for the case of a soft soil improved by vertical piles is conducted. The study highlights the limitations and advantages of each method with respect to the soil-arching investigation.

    Research areas

  • Discrete element method, finite difference method, soil arching, piled embankment, granular soil, softening behavior

ID: 26946323