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PROCEEDINGS OF THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CIVIL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING COMPUTING
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
Some Recent Applications of the Discrete Element Method
School of Civil and Mining Engineering, The University of Sydney, Australia
H.B. Harrison, "Some Recent Applications of the Discrete Element Method", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Civil and Structural Engineering Computing", Civil-Comp Press, Edinburgh, UK, pp 269-274, 1989. doi:10.4203/ccp.9.7.7
The discrete element method is a powerful numerical technique for the stress analysis of certain classes of structure. It does not possess the generality of the finite element method but neither does it require massive computing power. It seems applicable to line structures where Saint Venant's principle is relevant and it produces second-order, large deformation solutions as readily as first-order results. The line structures should preferably form one closed loop but this requirement does not preclude many important classes of structure.
The author has applied the discrete element method to beams and columns, portal frames and arches of any shape, and to cables and inflatable dams. Some more recent applications have been to inplane-loaded ring frames, the stress analysis of grossly deformed carbon fibres and of C-shaped springs. These latter structures are discussed in some detail. It is remarkable that all of these problems can be handled quite efficiently with the aid of a personal computer of minimum power.
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