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Title:Coupled Numerical Simulation of Debris Flow-Soil-Structure Interactions for Flexible Barrier Mitigation Systems
Authors:Aliena Marie Debelak, Christopher Bareither, and Hussam Mahmoud
University:Colorado State University
Publication Date:Jun 2021
Report #:MPC-21-438
Project #:MPC-482
TRID #:01778829
Keywords:barriers (roads), debris flows, dislocation (geology), finite element method, soil structure interaction
Type:Research Report – MPC Publications



The objective of this study was to simulate the stress-displacement behavior of a flexible debris-flow mitigation structure with a three-dimensional finite element model (FEM). Flexible, steel ring-net structures are becoming state-of-practice for debris-flow mitigation in mountainous terrain. These structures have been shown effective in geohazard mitigation; however, design of these structures commonly does not incorporate coupled interactions between debris flow mechanics and stress-strain response of the steel structure Thus, this study focused on assessing the effectiveness of using an FEM model in ABAQUS to simulate coupled behavior encountered in a flexible debris-flow mitigation structure. The debris flow was modeled as a series of rectangular solid blocks and the flexible debris-flow barrier was modeled as a series of three individual parts – braking elements, cables, and rings. The primary model outputs evaluated were the temporal and spatial relationships of forces within the structure and final barrier deformation. A full-scale field experiment from literature was used as a benchmark test to validate FEM simulations, and subsequently the FEM was used to assess barrier sensitivity via a parametric study. Parameters were chosen to represent common geotechnical variables of the debris flow and structural variables of the steel, ring-net structure.

How to Cite

Debelak, Aliena Marie, Christopher Bareither, and Hussam Mahmoud. Coupled Numerical Simulation of Debris Flow-Soil-Structure Interactions for Flexible Barrier Mitigation Systems, MPC-21-438. North Dakota State University - Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, Fargo: Mountain-Plains Consortium, 2021.

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