Multi-body Dynamics of Polygonised 3D
Objects with Unilateral Frictional Contact: Application to Rockfall
Funding: Schweizerischer Nationalfonds (SNF), Grant: SNF
Leine, Christoph Glocker,
Perry Bartelt (SLF),
In this project we intend to develop numerical methods as well as a software code
for the simulation of the three-dimensional motion of polygonised objects with frictional
unilateral contacts. These methods will be tailored for and applied to the simulation of
runout lengths of rockfall in hazardous areas in Switzerland.
The non-smooth dynamics approach, which combines a rigid-body approach with "hard" contacts,
has been successfully applied to multi-body systems with a few or moderately large number of bodies
and a rather simple contact geometry (balls, rods, blocks). Many industrial problems (such as gears in contact)
and real-life applications (e.g. the motion of non-spherical rocks on an uneven slope) demand the simulation of
much more complex contact geometries and a much larger number of contacting bodies or contact points.
The aims of this project are twofold:
to develop numerical methods for the simulation of a large number of polygonised rigid bodies with complex
geometries using set-valued contact laws in an efficient way, which involves the efficient calculation of contact
distances between a large number of vertices and the adaptation of parameterisations to describe 3D rotations to
fit within the non-smooth dynamics approach,
to develop a tailored software code for the simulation of runout lengths of rockfall using 3D terrain data of
high-risk areas in Switzerland and to experimentally verify the numerical results using SLF/WSL laboratory facilities.
The research project is conducted in the form of a doctoral dissertation at the ETH Zurich under the guidance of
PD Dr. ir. habil. R. I. Leine and in close cooperation with Dr. A. Volkwein
and Dr. P. Bartelt of SLF/WSL.
The Gurtnellen rockfall incident (photo SLF/WSL)
Simulation of rockfall (left) and thousands of blocks (right).
Schweizer, A.: "Kontakt zwischen Körpern mit triangularisierter
Oberflächenrepräsentation", Master thesis at the Center of Mechanics, ETH Zurich,