A DEM generalized Kelvin contact model for predicting damage in asphalt mixtures

Gustavo Câmara, Nuno Monteiro Azevedo, Rui Micaelo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Over the years, thermal cracking, moisture damage and fatigue cracking might occur in the top layers of flexible pavements. Taking this fact into consideration, this study presents a three-dimensional (3D) particle model based on the discrete element method
(DEM) following the Laguerre-Voronoi diagrams of the grain structure of asphalt mixtures to investigate their fracture behaviour. An incremental generalized Kelvin (GK) contact model is adopted to represent the viscoelasticity and viscoplasticity present in asphalt materials. Moreover, the cracking behaviour is modelled with a bilinear model and compared with the response obtained with a simple brittle model implemented within the framework of the adopted GK model. A parametric study is conducted in order to evaluate
the influence of the fracture input parameters on the general stress-strain behaviour. A virtual asphalt mastic sample was generated and submitted to a tensile test and the results compared with laboratory data. After previous calibration of the contact parameters, the results obtained for the viscoelastic behaviour, cumulative strain, peak stress and the crack path in the sample showed a good agreement with experimental data. The bilinear model in association with the GK model predicted a numerical response closer to the observed experimentally than the response predicted with a simple brittle model.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCongress on Numerical Methods in Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationCMN 2022
EditorsDavid Greiner, Irene Arias, Manuel Tur, Gil Andrade-Campos, Nuno Lopes, J. Alexandre Pinho-da-Cruz
Place of PublicationBarcelona
PublisherInternational Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE)
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-84-123222-9-3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
EventCongress on Numerical Methods in Engineering - Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria, Spain
Duration: 12 Sept 202214 Sept 2022


ConferenceCongress on Numerical Methods in Engineering
Abbreviated titleCMN 2022
CityGran Canaria


  • Discrete element modelling
  • elasto-visco-plastic models
  • fracture behaviour
  • asphalt mixtures


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