Hybrid continuum–discrete simulation of granular impact dynamics

Yupeng Jiang, HKU

Yidong Zhao, KAIST

Clarence E. Choi, HKU

Jinhyun Choo, KAIST



Granular impact—the dynamic intrusion of solid objects into granular media—is widespread across scientific and engi- neering applications including geotechnics. Existing approaches to the simulation of granular impact dynamics have relied on either a purely discrete method or a purely continuum method. Neither of these methods, however, is deemed optimal from the computational perspective. Here, we introduce a hybrid continuum–discrete approach, built on the coupled material-point and discrete-element method (MP–DEM), for simulation of granular impact dynamics with unparalleled efficiency. To accommodate highly complex solid–granular interactions, we enhance the existing MP–DEM formulation with three new ingredients: (i) a robust contact algorithm that couples the continuum and discrete parts without any interpenetration under extreme impact loads, (ii) large deformation kinematics employing multiplicative elastoplasticity, and (iii) a trans-phase constitutive relation capturing gasification of granular media. For validation, we also generate experimental data through laboratory measurement of the impact dynamics of solid spheres dropped onto dry sand. Simulation of the experiments shows that the proposed approach can well reproduce granular impact dynamics in terms of impact forces, intrusion depths, and splash patterns. Furthermore, through parameter studies on material properties, model formulations, and numerical schemes, we identify key factors for successful continuum–discrete simulation of granular impact dynamics.