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Joint elements in ABAQUS to model discontinuity in rock


I am trying to model a rock mass with few discontinuities in ABAQUS. I have to use "joint elements" (Goodman element or the more recent variations) to model the discontinuity. The element should model a separation in tension and a slipping governing by Coulomb friction. Is there any element in ABAQUS capable of modeling such behaviours? If not how can I add one?




"The element should model a separation in tension and a slipping governing by Coulomb friction."

I think surface contact can be sufficient for your requirements here. You can check the manual for more options for defining contact properties.

Donald X. Chen's picture

It seems that there are different naming for thus elements!

In rock mechanics, it is joint element; In geomechanics, it is interface or slip element;

In Abaqus, they may not ptovide thus specific element types, instead the contact surface may be used for many purposes.

"The implication of tensile or shear failure may be studied in more detail introducing interface
elements (discrete crack analysis) at critical places. However, all interface contact elements was
removed in ABAQUS version 6.1. Instead one should use the *CONTACT PAIR option with
SMALL SLIDING parameter to model infinitesimal sliding and pore fluid interaction between
deformable bodies. Unfortunately this new option do not account for tangential gap flow, which is
essential for examining possible hydraulic communication between two isolated reservoir
segments. From our standpoint it seems that reintroducing the interface elements again in
ABAQUS is a good idea."

For more details, see one of the references,


Thank you for your response.

I am aware of contact surface option but I prefer to use an interface element. Actually I have to analyse a rock mass and then reinforce the weak spots in it. If I can model a discontinuity at a point with an element I can easily switch the element's material to reinforce that point. I can use the contact surface but then reinforcing will not be that straightforward.

Considering that I just want to locate the weak points in the rock I also thought of using a thin layer of "jointed material" or even cohesionless Mohr-Coulomb material to model the discontinuity. Sorry I'm not an expert in rock mechanics so my idea might seem funny but do you think it will work?


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