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The erosion phenomena is the main cause of the most serious incidents observed on earthen hydraulic structures such as dams and dikes. Thus, there is a real need to explore in depth and understand the mechanisms at work in such complex erosional processes for preventing similar risks.
The aim of this study is to provide a micromechanical insight into the mechanisms taking place during the erosion of a cohesive granular material driven by a fluid flow, the objectives are summarized as follows:
Perform numerical erosion tests.
Parallelization of the code (Gpu).
Extensive parametric analysis => rely micro parameters (eg. Cohesion) to macro parameters (eg. Soil erodibility, mechanical strengths).

Surface erosion of a cohesive granular soil by a fluid flow is investigated numerically by coupling the Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) for the fluid phase and the Discrete Element Method (DEM) for describing the motion of the solid particles. In addition, inter-particles cohesion is insured by a contact model featuring a paraboloidal yield surface. The use of a fully resolved LBM-DEM coupling technique is currently limited due to the computational cost when simulating a large number of particles. This issue can be overcome using the graphics processing unit (GPU) thanks to ist massively parallel hardware architecture. Here, we first present a 2D GPU implementation of LBM-DEM coupling for a granular assembly. The GPU implementations are approximatively 30 times faster than a single core CPU version. Then, we apply the parallelization technique to practical erosional cases, namely the jet erosion test (JET) and the shear-driven erosion by a Couette flow. These numerical tests aim to relate micro parameters of a cohesive material (eg. cohesion) to macro parameters (eg. soil erodibility, mechanical strengths). Preliminary results show that micromechanical features indeed provide a novel insight of soil erosion phenomena.

Use of DEM-LBM modeling to prove the relevance of free jet model for soil erosion by impinging jet
(2018)

The aim of this study is to provide a micromechanical insight into the mechanisms taking place during the erosion of a cohesive granular material driven by a fluid flow, the objectives are summarized as follows:
Perform numerical erosion tests.
Parallelization of the code (Gpu).
Extensive parametric analysis => rely micro parameters (eg. Cohesion) to macro parameters (eg. Soil erodibility, mechanical strengths).

Here we investigate the physical mechanisms behind the surface erosion of a cohesive granular soil induced by an impinging jet by means of numerical simulations coupling fluid and grains at the microscale. The 2D numerical model combines the Discrete Element and Lattice Boltzmann methods (DEM-LBM) and accounts for the granular cohesion with a contact model featuring a paraboloidal yield surface. Here we review first the hydrodynamical conditions imposed by the fluid jet on a solid granular packing, turning then the attention to the impact of cohesion on the erosion kinetics. Finally, the use of an additional subcritical debonding damage model based on the work of Silvani and co-workers provides a novel insight into the internal solicitation of the cohesive granular sample by the impinging jet.

The surface erosion of soil samples caused by an impinging jet can be analyzed using the jet erosion test (JET), a standard experimental test to characterize the erosion resistance of soils. This paper specifically addresses the flow characteristics of a laminar impinging jet over the irregular surface of granular beds to discuss the pertinence and relevance of commonly used empirical estimations based on a selfsimilar model of a free jet. The JET is here investigated at the microscale with a coupled fluid-particle flow numerical odel featuring the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) for the fluid phase combined with the discrete element method (DEM) for the mechanical behavior of the solid particles. The hydrodynamics of a laminar plane free jet are confronted with the results from a parametric study of jet impingement, both on solid smooth and fixed granular surfaces, that take into account variations in particle size, distance from jet origin, and jet Reynolds number. The flow characteristics at the bed surface are here quantified, including the maximal values in tangential velocity and wall shear stress, which can be regarded as the major cause of particle detachments under hydrodynamic solicitation. It is shown that the maximal velocity at the impinged surface can be described by the free jet self-similar model, provided that a simple empirical coefficient is introduced. Further, an expression is proposed for the maximal shear stress in laminar conditions, including a Blasius-like friction coefficient that is inversely proportional to the square root of the jet Reynolds number. To conclude, finally, the JET erosion of different cohesionless granular samples is analyzed, confirming that the threshold condition at the onset of granular motion is consistent with the Shields diagram and in close agreement with previous experimental results.

This article deals with the relevance and practical feasibility of micromechanical simulations for their application to general geomechanical problems involving fluid-saturated granular assemblies, whether frictional or cohesive. A set of conceptual and numerical tools is here presented, advocating for a parallel computation using graphical processing units (GPUs) to treat large numbers of degrees of freedom with conventional Desktop computers. The fluid phase is here simulated with a particle-resolved approach in the frame of the Lattice Botzmann Method (LBM) while the granular solid phase is modelled as a collection of discrete particles from a Molecular Dynamics DEM perspective. The range of possible material behaviours for the solid granular phase is intended here to cover a broad spectrum from purely frictional to viscous cohesive materials with either brittle or transient debonding features. Specific details of the implementation and some validation cases are put forward.
Finally, some exemplary applications in the fields of soil erosion and geotechnical profile installation are provided along with a discussion on the parallel performance of the presented models. The results show that a micromechanical approach can be feasible and useful in practice, providing meaningful insights into complex engineering problems like the erosion kinetics of a soil under an impinging jet or the penetration resistance of a deep foundation in a layered soil profile.