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An algorithm for continuum modeling of rocks with multiple embedded nonlinearly-compliant joints


We present a numerical method for modeling the mechanical effects of nonlinearly-compliant joints in elasto-plastic media. The method uses a series of strain-rate and stress update algorithms to determine joint closure, slip, and solid stress within computational cells containing multiple “embedded” joints. This work facilitates efficient modeling of nonlinear wave propagation in large spatial domains containing a large number of joints that affect bulk mechanical properties. We implement the method within the massively parallel Lagrangian code GEODYN-L and provide verification and examples. We highlight the ability of our algorithms to capture joint interactions and multiple weakness planes within individual computational cells, as well as its computational efficiency. We also discuss the motivation for developing the proposed technique: to simulate large-scale wave propagation during the Source Physics Experiments (SPE), a series of underground explosions conducted at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).

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The authors would like to thank all members of the Computational Geosciences group at LLNL, particularly T. H. Antoun, E. B. Herbold, and M. B. Rubin, for valuable discussions. The authors wish to express their gratitude to the National Nuclear Security Administration, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development (DNN R&D), and the Source Physics Experiment (SPE) working group, a multi-institutional and interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers. This work was done by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.

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Correspondence to R. C. Hurley.

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Hurley, R.C., Vorobiev, O.Y. & Ezzedine, S.M. An algorithm for continuum modeling of rocks with multiple embedded nonlinearly-compliant joints. Comput Mech 60, 235–252 (2017).

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  • Discontinuities
  • Elastic-plastic solids
  • Rock mechanics
  • Wave