Numerical study of retention efficiency of a flexible barrier in mitigating granular flow comparing with large-scale physical modeling test data

Dao Yuan Tan, Wei Qiang Feng, Jian Hua Yin, Zhuo Hui Zhu, Jie Qiong Qin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Retention behavior of a flexible barrier in mitigating a granular flow is still an open problem not fully understood, especially due to the complexity of the granular material and the flexible barrier. Understanding the retention mechanism and quantifying the influencing factors of retention efficiency are desirable for optimizing the design and minimizing the maintenance cost of a debris-resisting flexible barrier. In this paper, a numerical model, based on the discrete element method, is presented, calibrated, and validated to analyze the interaction between a granular flow and a flexible net. A full-scale numerical simulation is first performed to compare with a large-scale physical modeling test in the literature and validate the applied parameters in the simulation. The interaction and deposition characteristics of the granular flow interacting with a flexible net are revealed. Afterward, parametric study is performed to investigate the effects of the internal friction angle (φ) of debris material and the relative mesh size of flexible net on the retention efficiency and clogging mechanism of a flexible barrier. The simulation results illustrate that the particle passing ratio (P) increases with increment of the friction angle of particles and enlargement of the mesh size of a flexible net. Both parameters have critical effects on the retention efficiency of a flexible barrier in intercepting a granular flow. Therefore, the friction angle and the particle size distribution characteristics of the debris material are suggested being used for optimization of the mesh size and more efficient design of debris-resisting flexible barriers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Geotechnica
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Discrete element method
  • Flexible barrier
  • Granular flow
  • Retention efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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