Effect of Model Scale and Particle Size Distribution on PFC3D Simulation Results

Xiaobin Ding, Lianyang Zhang, Hehua Zhu, Qi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of model scale and particle size distribution on the simulated macroscopic mechanical properties, unconfined compressive strength (UCS), Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio, using the three-dimensional particle flow code (PFC3D). Four different maximum to minimum particle size (dmax/dmin) ratios, all having a continuous uniform size distribution, were considered and seven model (specimen) diameter to median particle size ratios (L/d) were studied for each dmax/dmin ratio. The results indicate that the coefficients of variation (COVs) of the simulated macroscopic mechanical properties using PFC3D decrease significantly as L/d increases. The results also indicate that the simulated mechanical properties using PFC3D show much lower COVs than those in PFC2D at all model scales. The average simulated UCS and Young’s modulus using the default PFC3D procedure keep increasing with larger L/d, although the rate of increase decreases with larger L/d. This is mainly caused by the decrease of model porosity with larger L/d associated with the default PFC3D method and the better balanced contact force chains at larger L/d. After the effect of model porosity is eliminated, the results on the net model scale effect indicate that the average simulated UCS still increases with larger L/d but the rate is much smaller, the average simulated Young’s modulus decreases with larger L/d instead, and the average simulated Poisson’s ratio versus L/d relationship remains about the same. Particle size distribution also affects the simulated macroscopic mechanical properties, larger dmax/dmin leading to greater average simulated UCS and Young’s modulus and smaller average simulated Poisson’s ratio, and the changing rates become smaller at larger dmax/dmin. This study shows that it is important to properly consider the effect of model scale and particle size distribution in PFC3D simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2139-2156
Number of pages18
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • Calibration study
  • Model porosity
  • Model scale
  • PFC2D
  • PFC3D
  • Particle flow code (PFC)
  • Particle size distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology

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