TitleModelling of massive particulates for breakwater engineering using coupled FEMDEM and CFD
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsLatham J-P, Munjiza A, Mindel J, Xiang J, Guises R, Garcia X, Pain C, Gorman G, Piggott M
Date Publisheddec
KeywordsArmour units, Breakwater, DEM, Modelling, Wave-structure interaction
AbstractThe seaward slope of many breakwaters consists of thousands of interlocking units of rock or concrete comprising a massive granular system of large elements each weighing tens of tonnes. The dumped quarry materials in the core are protected by progressively coarser particulates. The outer armour layer of freely placed units is intended to both dissipate wave energy and remain structurally stable as strong flows are drawn in and out of the particulate core. Design guidance on the mass and shape of these units is based on empirical equations derived from scaled physical model tests. The main failure mode for armour layers exposed to severe storms is hydraulic instability where the armour units of concrete or rock are subjected to uplift and drag forces which can in turn lead to rocking, displacement and collisions sufficient to cause breakage of units. Recently invented armour unit designs making up such granular layered system owe much of their success to the desirable emergent properties of interlock and porosity and how these combine with individual unit structural strength and inertial mass. Fundamental understanding of the forces governing such wave-structure interaction remains poor. We use discrete element and combined finite-discrete element methods to model the granular solid skeleton of randomly packed units coupled to a CFD code which resolves the wave dynamics through an interface tracking technique. The CFD code exploits several methods including a compressive advection scheme, node movement, and general mesh optimization. We provide the engineering context and report progress towards the numerical modelling of instability in these massive granular systems. © 2008 Chinese Society of Particuology and Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences.