A hydro-mechanical coupled contact method for two-phase geotechnical large deformation problems within the SNS-PFEM framework

Huangcheng Fang, Zhen Yu Yin, Dingli Zhang, Liqiang Cao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This paper proposes a novel numerical algorithm to solve frictional contact problems in two-phase porous media, accounting for the large deformation and interface fluid flow, within the framework of the Stable Node-based Smoothed Particle Finite Element Method (SNS-PFEM). The proposed approach builds on our previous work that was only designed for single-phase large deformation contact problems. Within this work, the hydro-mechanical coupling system is discretized using equal-order interpolation, with a polynomial pressure projection method to eliminate the pore pressure instability. Surface-to-surface discretization is then applied to formulate the contact constraint of the two-phase porous medium. Using the dual Lagrange multiplier approach, a coordinate transformation is introduced to enforce the contact constraint of the solid phase. This transformation is subsequently utilized to develop a new interface fluid element, which serves as a tool to model the fluid exchange behaviour between porous media and contact gaps. Different from existing interface fluid elements, the proposed element is constructed based on the contact algorithm, thereby enabling it to handle non-conforming interfaces and tackle challenges associated with large sliding problems. Furthermore, the proposed method can maintain a well-conditioned system matrix throughout the computation process. These distinctive attributes significantly enhance the flexibility of numerical modelling. Finally, the accuracy and performance of our method are verified through four numerical examples. The results show that the proposed method can effectively simulate various geotechnical problems, including multi-layer soil consolidation, fluid-soil-structure interaction, and geological interface-controlled slope failure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116743
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2024


  • Dual Lagrange multiplier
  • Finite sliding contact
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Hydro-mechanical coupling
  • Interface fluid flow
  • Large deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications


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