Modelling Soil Desiccation Cracking Using a Hybrid Continuum-Discrete Element Method

  • Y. L. GuiEmail author
  • W. Hu
  • X. Zhu
Conference paper


Shrinkage induced crack pattern is a universal phenomenon, soil cracking due to drying shrinkage is not an exception. In geotechnical engineering, desiccation shrinkage induced cracking has a profound effect on the engineering properties of soils as it can considerably increase the hydraulic conductivity and decreases the shear strength of a soil. Thus, it poses a significant threat to the hydraulic and structural integrity of earthworks. This paper presents the application of the hybrid continuum-discrete element method to simulate soil desiccation shrinkage and cracking with a mix-mode cohesive fracture model. The applicability of the proposed approach is demonstrated through numerical simulation of laboratory and field desiccation tests. The simulation results have shown good agreements with the laboratory and field observations.


Soil Desiccation Cracking Simulation 



Funding support from China State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironmental Protection, Chengdu University of Technology, via project SKLGP2016K003 is gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EngineeringNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironmental ProtectionChengdu University of TechnologyChengduChina

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