Large scale simulation of granular materials via impulse-based discrete element method

Seung Jae Lee, Youssef M.A. Hashash, Eun Hyun Park

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The discrete element method (DEM) was developed about 35 years ago to simulate particulate interaction of granular materials. However, DEM is a computationally expensive method despite significant algorithmic developments that have been made to enhance the computational performance. In this study, a new simulation approach is proposed that runs nearly as fast as the simulation methods used in the computer graphics area while keeping the simulation fidelity required for engineering applications. The proposed impulse-based DEM (iDEM) uses collision impulse instead of contact force, and directly handles velocity while bypassing integration at the acceleration level. Contact force is not an integral part of simulation, but retrieved via an original proposed formulation. The method is robust, numerically stable and results in significant speed-up of almost two orders of magnitude relative to conventional DEM, which makes iDEM as a suitable tool for large scale simulation of granular materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIFCEE 2015 - Proceedings of the International Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo 2015
EditorsJ. Brian Anderson, Magued Iskander, Muhannad T. Suleiman, Debra F. Laefer
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780784479087
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
EventInternational Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo 2015, IFCEE 2015 - San Antonio, United States
Duration: Mar 17 2015Mar 21 2015

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
VolumeGSP 256
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


OtherInternational Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo 2015, IFCEE 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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