Multi-spring Edge-to-Edge Contact Model for Discontinuous Deformation Analysis and Its Application to the Tensile Failure Behavior of Rock Joints

Yingbin Zhang, Jinmei Wang, John X. Zhao, Guangqi Chen, Pengcheng Yu, Tao Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Edge-to-edge is the most common form of contact in a two-dimensional joint block system. Discontinuous deformation analysis (DDA) is a powerful tool for handling block systems and treats an edge-to-edge contact as two vertex-to-edge contacts with a couple of normal and shear springs at the extremes of the contact segment. However, this method is unsuitable for evaluating the tensile failure of a joint under asymmetrical tension conditions, even though it can simplify the contact type and increase computational efficiency. This is mainly because the distributed forces at an edge-to-edge contact are simplified as two couples of concentrated forces. To solve this problem, this paper proposes incorporating a multi-spring edge-to-edge contact model with DDA. In the model, several contact pairs with normal and shear springs on an edge-to-edge contact are set to simulate the distributed forces. Several benchmark tests were performed to demonstrate the discrepancy between the original and improved DDAs. The results revealed that the latter more accurately models the stress distribution across the edge-to-edge contact, providing a more reasonable acceleration required to topple a series of blocks resting on an inclined stepped base.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology

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