Assessment of Discrete Element Modelling Parameters for Rock Mass Propagation

  • Guilhem MollonEmail author
  • Vincent Richefeu
  • Pascal Villard
  • Dominique Daudon


The efficiency of a numerical model depends on both the realism of the assumptions it is based on, and on the way its parameters are assessed. We propose a numerical model based on the discrete element method which makes possible, thanks to the definition of an appropriate contact law, to simulate the mechanisms of energy dissipations by friction and shocks during the propagation of an avalanche of granular material on a slope. The parameters of the contact model are obtained from laboratory experiments of single impacts. A particular attention was paid to the values of the run-out, the morphology of the deposit, the proportions of energy dissipations by impacts or friction, and the kinetic energies of translation and rotation. The results of this numerical study provide valuable information on the relevance of some usual assumptions of granular flow continuous models.


Discrete element method Rock avalanches Dissipative contact law Parameter identification Experimental validation 



This study was performed as a part of the European project ALCOTRA-MASSA, with financial support from the European Funds For Regional Development (FEDER).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guilhem Mollon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vincent Richefeu
    • 1
  • Pascal Villard
    • 1
  • Dominique Daudon
    • 1
  1. 1.UJF-Grenoble 1, Grenoble-INP, CNRS UMR 5521, 3SR LabGrenobleFrance

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