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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-301
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-301
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 28 Nov 2018

Research article | 28 Nov 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Elasto-plastic-adhesive DEM model for simulating hillslope debris flows: cross comparison with field experiments

Adel Albaba1, Massimiliano Schwarz1, Corinna Wendeler2, Bernard Loup3, and Luuk Dorren1 Adel Albaba et al.
  • 1Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Science HAFL, Länggasse 85, 3052 Zollikofen, Switzerland
  • 2Geobrugg Protection Systems, Aachstrasse 11, 8590 Romanshorn, Switzerland
  • 3Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Papiermühlestrasse 172, 3063 Ittigen, Switzerland

Abstract. This paper presents a Discrete Element-based elasto-plastic-adhesive model which is adapted and tested for producing hillslope debris flows. The numerical model produces three phases of particle contacts: elastic, plastic and adhesion. The model capabilities of simulating different types of cohesive granular flows were tested with different ranges of flow velocities and heights. The basic model parameters, being the basal friction (ϕb) and normal restitution coefficient (ϵn), were calibrated using field experiments of hillslope debris flows impacting two sensors. Simulations of 50m3 of material were carried out on a channelized surface that is 41m long and 8m wide. The calibration process was based on measurements of flow height, flow velocity and the pressure applied to a sensor. Results of the numerical model matched well those of the field data in terms of pressure and flow velocity while less agreement was observed for flow height. Those discrepancies in results were due in part to the deposition of material in the field test which are not reproducible in the model. A parametric study was conducted to further investigate that effect of model parameters and inclination angle on flow height, velocity and pressure. Results of best-fit model parameters against selected experimental tests suggested that a link might exist between the model parameters ϕb and ϵn and the initial conditions of the tested granular material (bulk density and water and fine contents). The good performance of the model against the full-scale field experiments encourages further investigation by conducting lab-scale experiments with detailed variation of water and fine content to better understand their link to the model's parameters.

Adel Albaba et al.
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Short summary
We present a Discrete Element-based model which is adapted and used to produce hillslope debris flows. The model parameters were calibrated using field experiments, and a very good agreements was found in terms of pressure and flow velocity. Calibration results suggested that a link might exist between the model parameters and the initial conditions of the granular material. However, to better understand this link, further investigations are required by conducting detailed lab-scale experiments.
We present a Discrete Element-based model which is adapted and used to produce hillslope debris...
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