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Debris Flows: an Experimental and Numerical Approach

Recent big earthquakes (e.g. Sichuan in China 2008) have reminded us of the huge destructive power of debris flows which washed away entire villages, bridges, railways, etc. A systematic study of flow propagation could lead us to predict how far and how powerful a flow is given an assigned input (e.g. earthquake or landslide). The rheology of debris flows is complex since flow masses are typically partly dry and partly wet exhibiting different flow regimes during their travel. The purpose of the thesis is to explore the use of the Discrete Element Method (DEM) as a numerical tool to predict a debris flow for assigned initial and boundary conditions (e.g. source of debris and geometry of the bed).

Parametric analyses of free chute from granular columns of different sizes will be conducted in the laboratory employing an ad-hoc rig. Then, DEM analyses of the investigated flows will be run and validated against the experimental results obtained in the laboratory.

For more information please contact s dot utili at warwick dot ac dot uk.