A new contact model to improve the simulated ratio of unconfined compressive strength to tensile strength in bonded particle models

Xiaobin Ding, Lianyang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


The bonded particle model (BPM) has been increasingly used to simulate and analyze the mechanical behavior of rocks. However, traditional BPMs that use symmetric particles bear the intrinsic limitation of severely overestimating the tensile strength of simulated rock and leading to unrealistically low unconfined compressive strength to tensile strength (UCS/. T) ratio. Researchers have proposed different methods to increase the UCS/. T ratio in BPM simulations; but they all have limitations. In this paper, a new contact model which properly considers the contribution of moments to normal and shear contact stresses and the condition at which the contact fails was proposed and implemented in the three-dimensional Particle Flow Code (PFC3D). The new contact model does not impose significant additional calculation burden. Detailed parametric studies were performed to evaluate the effect of different microscopic parameters on the UCS/. T ratio of BPM specimens. The results indicate that the moment contribution, cohesion and tensile strength are three key factors affecting the UCS/. T ratio. When the value of the moment contribution parameters is smaller than 0.5, a wide range of UCS/. T ratios can be achieved by changing the cohesion and/or tensile strength values. Finally, the new contact model was used to simulate two widely studied rocks, Lac Du Bonnet (LDB) granite and Carrara marble, and the obtained UCS/. T ratios were in good agreement with the measured values from laboratory experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • 3D particle flow code (PFC3D)
  • Bonded particle model
  • Contact model
  • Moment contribution
  • Parametric study
  • UCS/T ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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