Analytical and numerical models of debris flow impact

Sabatino Cuomo*, Angela Di Perna, Mario Martinelli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A full understanding of the interaction mechanisms among flow-like landslides and impacted protection structures is still an open issue. Although several approaches, from experimental to numerical, have been used so far, a thoroughly assessment of the hydromechanical behaviour of the landslide body is achievable only through a multiphase and large deformation approach. This paper firstly proposes a conceptual model for a specific type of protection structure, namely a Deformable Geosynthetics-Reinforced Barrier (DGRB), i.e., an embankment made of coarse-grained soil layers reinforced by geogrids. In such a case, the sliding of the barrier along its base, under the impulsive action of a flow-type landslide, is an important landslide energy dissipation mechanism, and a key issue for the design. Then, two different approaches are proposed: i) an advanced hydro-mechanical numerical model based on Material Point Method is tested in simulating the whole complex landslide-structure interaction mechanisms, ii) an analytical model is set up to deal with the landslide energy dissipation and the kinematics of both the landslide and barrier. The calibration of the proposed analytical model is pursued based on the numerical results. Finally, the analytical model is successfully validated to interpret a large dataset of landslide impact field evidence, for whose interpretation also five empirical methods available in the literature are tested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106818
JournalEngineering Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Material Point Method
  • Mechanism
  • Mitigation
  • Numerical
  • Structure


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