CARMA Special Semester in Computation and Visualisation seminar

Seminar Abstract:

The Discrete Element Method (DEM) is a very powerful numerical method for the simulation of unbonded and bonded granular materials, such as soil and rock. One of the unique features of this approach is that it explicitly considers the individual grains or particles and all their interactions. The DEM is an extension of the Molecular Dynamics (MD) approach. The motion of the particles is governed by Newton’s second law and the rigid body dynamic equations are generally solved by applying an explicit time-stepping algorithm. Spherical particles are usually used, as this results in most efficient contact detection. Nevertheless, with the increase of computing power non-spherical particles are becoming more popular. In addition, great effort is made for coupling the method with other continuum methods to model multiphase materials. The talk discusses recent developments of the DEM in Geomechanics based on the open-source framework YADE and some of its ongoing challenges.

Speaker Biography:

Klaus has more than 10 years’ experience in the development of cutting-edge numerical tools for geotechnical engineering and rock mechanics applications. He obtained his PhD in civil engineering from Graz University of Technology (Austria). After moving to Australia, he expanded his initial research experience on continuum-based numerical modelling with the Boundary Element Method (BEM) and Finite Element Method (FEM) by taking on the Discrete Element Method (DEM), a discontinuum-based method. He is an active developer of the open-source DEM framework YADE (, an efficient numerical tool for the dynamic simulation of geomaterials. Lately he has been concentrating on the development of a highly innovative framework for the modelling of deformable discrete elements.

Host University: The University of Newcastle

Seminar Convener: Dr Klaus Thoeni (Civil Engineering, University of Newcastle)

How to participate in this seminar

1. Book your University’s Access Grid Room, or a university or APAC etc. Access Grid Room that you are able to use, and

2. Send an email to the seminar convener at the University of Newcastle (Klaus Thoeni) to advise that you will be attending the seminar.


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