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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Modeling of rock scour using coupled 3-D discrete element and lattice boltzmann methods

  • Author(s): Gardner, MH
  • Sitar, N
  • et al.

Copyright © 2018 ARMA, American Rock Mechanics Association. Scour of rock in unlined rock spillway channels is a critical issue facing many of the world’s dams. From a modeling point of view this poses a challenging and interesting problem that combines rock mechanics and hydraulics of turbulent flow. We analyze this interaction between the blocky rock mass and water by directly modeling the solid and fluid phases—the individual polyhedral blocks are modeled using the Discrete Element Method (DEM) while the water is modeled using the Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM). The LBM mesh is entirely independent of the DEM discretization, making it possible to refine the LBM mesh such that transient and varied fluid pressures acting of the rock surface are directly modeled. This provides the capability to investigate the effect of water pressure inside the fractured rock mass, along potential sliding planes, and can be extended to rock falls and slides into standing bodies of water such as lakes and reservoirs. Herein we present preliminary results to demonstrate the capabilities of the methodology.

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