Coupled Numerical Simulation of Debris Flow-Soil-Structure Interactions for Flexible Barrier Mitigation Systems

The objective of this study was to simulate the stress-displacement behavior of a flexible debris-flow mitigation structure with a three-dimensional finite element model (FEM). Flexible, steel ring-net structures are becoming state-of-practice for debris-flow mitigation in mountainous terrain. These structures have been shown effective in geohazard mitigation; however, design of these structures commonly does not incorporate coupled interactions between debris flow mechanics and stress-strain response of the steel structure. Thus, this study focused on assessing the effectiveness of using an FEM model in ABAQUS to simulate coupled behavior encountered in a flexible debris-flow mitigation structure. The debris flow was modeled as a series of rectangular solid blocks and the flexible debris-flow barrier was modeled as a series of three individual parts – braking elements, cables, and rings. The primary model outputs evaluated were the temporal and spatial relationships of forces within the structure and final barrier deformation. A full-scale field experiment from literature was used as a benchmark test to validate FEM simulations, and subsequently the FEM was used to assess barrier sensitivity via a parametric study. Parameters were chosen to represent common geotechnical variables of the debris flow and structural variables of the steel, ring-net structure.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Colorado State University, Fort Collins

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Fort Collins, CO  United States  80525

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Debelak, Aliena Marie
    • Bareither, Christopher
    • Mahmoud, Hussam
  • Publication Date: 2021-6


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 83p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01778829
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC 21-438
  • Created Date: Aug 9 2021 9:44AM