A coupled MPM-DEM method for modelling soil-rock mixtures

Jianguo Li, Bin Wang*, Di Wang, Pei Zhang, Philip J. Vardon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Aiming at modelling the mechanical behaviour of soil-rock mixtures accurately and efficiently, a coupled MPM-DEM formulation combining the material point method (MPM) and the discrete element method (DEM) is proposed. It is solved concurrently via the contact force linking the two individual methods. Specifically, the soil is modelled with MPM as continuums to avoid handling the contacts between fine particles. The rocks are modelled by DEM to capture the contact characteristics of rocks. This method is validated with ball impacting and block sliding tests first for the contact between material points and DEM particles. Its capability in describing the mechanics of soil-rock mixtures is thereafter proved by comparing the simulation results with pure DEM simulations of binary mixtures and laboratory tests of soil-rock mixtures. It is demonstrated that MPM-DEM can reproduce the stress–strain response of soil-rock mixtures and capture the influence of rock contents and rock sizes. In addition, a coarse-graining modelling scheme is implemented, i.e., representing the soil particles with fewer material points, which significantly increases the efficiency compared with pure DEM. Our proposed method provides a novel way to model soil-rock mixtures with reasonable computational efforts, which sheds light on simulating large-scale soil-rock mixtures in nature or engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105508
Number of pages18
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Binary granular mixture
  • Discrete element method
  • Material point method
  • Soil-rock mixture
  • Triaxial test


Dive into the research topics of 'A coupled MPM-DEM method for modelling soil-rock mixtures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this