Simulating Subterranean Cavity Induced Urban Pavement Collapse Using Discrete Element Method

Qiusheng Wang, Xiaojing Gao, Guowei Ma, Bin Wang


The particle flow code, based on discrete element method, was adopted to simulate the behavior of urban pavement collapse induced by subterranean cavity. Comparison between the numerical biaxial test results and the available data obtained from physical model tests was undertaken to calibrate the micro parameters of materials. The accuracy and preciseness of the proposed model was verified by comparing the simulation results with the test results. A series of numerical calculations of pavement collapse with cavities in different sizes and various loading positions were performed for investigating the evolutional regularity of shallow and deep buried cavities. The simulation results demonstrated that the critical collapse thickness of overlying soil under the influence of loading positions increases as the cavity size increases. The failure of shallow buried cavity starts with the emergence of arch springing, while the damage of deep buried cavity begins with the appearance of circular-shaped crack produced by stress redistribution. With the development of vertical cracks, failure patterns of shallow and deep buried cavities are similar. Under the combination of tension and shearing force, a subsidence occurs as cracks expand to the surface.


Discrete element method, Pavement collapse, Subterranean cavity, Evolutional regularity, Arch


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