A lattice discrete particle model for pressure-dependent inelasticity in granular rocks

S. Esna Ashari, G. Buscarnera*, G. Cusatis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This paper details the formulation, calibration, and validation of a Lattice Discrete Particle Model (LDPM) for the simulation of the pressure-dependent inelastic response of granular rocks. LDPM is formulated in the framework of discrete mechanics and it simulates the heterogeneous deformation of cemented granular systems by means of discrete compatibility/equilibrium equations defined at the grain scale. A numerical strategy is proposed to generate a realistic microstructure based on the actual grain size distribution of a sandstone and the capabilities of the method are illustrated with reference to the particular case of Bleurswiller sandstone, i.e. a granular rock that has been extensively studied at the laboratory scale. LDPM micromechanical parameters are calibrated based on evidences from triaxial experiments, such as hydrostatic compression, brittle failure at low confinement and plastic behavior at high confinement. The results show that LDPM allows exploring the effect of fine-scale heterogeneity on the inelastic response of rock cores, achieving excellent quantitative performance across a wide range of stress conditions. In addition, LDPM simulations demonstrate its capability of capturing different modes of strain localization within a unified mechanical framework, which makes this approach applicable for a wide variety of geomechanical settings. Such promising performance suggests that LDPM may constitute a viable alternative to existing discrete numerical methods for granular rocks, as well as a versatile tool for the interpretation of their complex deformation/failure patterns and for the development of continuum models capturing the effect of micro-scale heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Discrete lattice model
  • Granular rocks
  • Rock plasticity
  • Strain localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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