Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 3255–3267 | Cite as

Analysis of the Effects of a Rotating Rock on Rockfall Protection Barriers

  • Xin Qi
  • Xiangjun Pei
  • Rui Han
  • Yafeng Yang
  • Qingcheng Meng
  • Zhixiang Yu
Original Paper


Due to limitations associated with field tests and equipment, the majority of the research conducted to evaluate the mechanical behaviour of rockfall protection barriers considers only free-falling rocks when simulating the actual situation. Based on this fact, this study introduces ψ, the ratio of the rotational kinetic energy to the kinetic energy of a rockfall, to study the rotational effect and to achieve an optimal design. LS-DYNA is used to analyse the dynamic response of the system under the impact of a rolling rock. The results indicate that a rolling rock is an adverse condition. As ψ increases, the rock displacement decreases with a clear outward rolling, which causes greater deformation of the energy dissipater of the upper support rope and greater displacement of the free end of the steel post. As ψ approaches 0.2, the tensile forces of the upper support rope and the anchor rope reach their peak values, which are 39% higher than the corresponding values when ψ is 0. Additionally, the maximum forces of the steel post and net increase by 29 and 20%, respectively. The energy consumption of the break rings and wire ring net decrease linearly. However, the slide energy and friction energy increase linearly. To facilitate further research, correction coefficients that incorporate the effect of a rotational impact and formulas that include a relation between ψ and the force of each component are obtained through curve fitting.


Rockfall protection barrier Full-scale test Numerical simulation Rotational kinetic energy Dynamic response 

List of symbols


Translational speed of the rockfall


Total speed of the rockfall


Height of the rockfall


Gravitational acceleration


Slope angle


Resistance coefficient of the rockfall along the hillside


Total energy of the rockfall


Translational kinetic energy


Rotational kinetic energy


Moment of inertia


Angular velocity of the rockfall


Ratio of the rotational kinetic energy to the translational kinetic energy


Horizontal distance between the anchorage point of the anchor rope and the block centroid


Vertical distance between the lower surface of the block and the lowest end of the support rope


Maximum block displacement


Maximum internal force of each component


Maximum internal stress of the steel post


Correction factor that considers the rotation effect



The work of this study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51408498, 51678504), the foundation of the State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment Protection (Grant No. SKLGP2016K013) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2682017CX006).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringSouthwest Jiaotong UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment ProtectionChengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina
  3. 3.School of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureSouthwest Petroleum UniversityChengduChina

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