DEM Modeling of a Flexible Barrier Impacted by a Dry Granular Flow

Albaba, Adel; Lambert, Stéphane; Kneib, François; Chareyre, Bruno; Nicot, François (2017). DEM Modeling of a Flexible Barrier Impacted by a Dry Granular Flow Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, 50(11), pp. 3029-3048. Springer 10.1007/s00603-017-1286-z

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Flexible barriers are widely used as protection structures against natural hazards in mountainous regions, in particular for containing granular materials such as debris flows, snow avalanches and rock slides. This article presents a discrete element method-based model developed in the aim of investigating the response of flexible barriers in such contexts. It allows for accounting for the peculiar mechanical and geometrical characteristics of both the granular flow and the barrier in a same framework, and with limited assumptions. The model, developed with YADE software, is described in detail, as well as its calibration. In particular, cables are modeled as continuous bodies. Besides, it naturally considers the sliding of rings along supporting cables. The model is then applied for a generic flexible barrier to demonstrate its capacities in accounting for the behavior of different components. A detailed analysis of the forces in the different components showed that energy dissipators (ED) had limited influence on total force applied to the barrier and retaining capacity, but greatly influenced the load transmission within the barrier and the force in anchors. A sensitivity analysis showed that the barrier’s response significantly changes according to the choice of ED activation force and incoming flow conditions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Multifunctional Forest Management


Albaba, Adel;
Lambert, Stéphane;
Kneib, François;
Chareyre, Bruno and
Nicot, François


G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
T Technology > T Technology (General)








David Zimmer

Date Deposited:

03 Sep 2019 11:12

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2022 14:19

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

DEM; Granular flows; Flexible barriers; Mechanical interaction; Impact; Numerical modeling




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