Mapped material point method for large deformation problems with sharp gradients and its application to soil-structure interactions

Yidong Zhao, KAIST

Minchen Li, CMU

Chenfanfu Jiang, UCLA

Jinhyun Choo, KAIST



The material point method (MPM) is often applied to large deformation problems that involve sharp gradients in the solution field. Representative examples in geomechanics are interactions between soils and various “structures” such as foundations, penetrometers, and machines, where the displacement fields exhibit sharp gradients around the soil-structure interfaces. Such sharp gradients should be captured properly in the MPM discretization to ensure that the numerical solution is sufficiently accurate. In the MPM literature, several types of locally refined discretizations have been developed and used for this purpose. However, these local refinement schemes are not only quite complicated but also restricted to certain types of basis functions or update schemes. In this work, we propose a new MPM formulation, called the mapped MPM, that can efficiently capture sharp gradients with a uniform background grid compatible with every standard MPM basis function and scheme. The mapped MPM is built on the method of auxiliary mapping that reparameterizes the given problem in a different domain whereby sharp gradients become much smoother. Because the reparameterized problem is free of undesirably sharp gradients, it can be well solved with the standard MPM ingredients including a uniform background grid. We verify and demonstrate the mapped MPM through several numerical examples, with particular attention to soil-structure interaction problems.