• frictional contact;
  • SPH;
  • boundary deficiency;
  • soil–structure interaction


Simulation of frictional contact between soils and rigid or deformable structure in the framework of smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) is presented in this study. Two algorithms are implemented into the SPH code to describe contact behavior, where the contact forces are calculated using the law of conservation of momentum based on ideal plastic collision or using the criteria of partial penetrating. In both algorithms, the problem of boundary deficiency inherited from SPH is properly handled so that the particles located at contact boundary can have precise acceleration, which is critical for contact detection. And the movement and rotation of the rigid structure are taken into account so that it is easy to simulate the process of pile driving or movement of a retaining wall in geotechnical engineering analysis. Furthermore, the capability of modeling deformability of a structure during frictional contact simulations broadens the fields of SPH application. In contrast to previous work dealing with contact in SPH, which usually use particle-to-particle contact or ignoring sliding between particles and solid structure, the method proposed here is more efficient and accurate, and it is suitable to simulate interaction between soft materials and rigid or deformable structures, which are very common in geotechnical engineering. A number of numerical tests are carried out to verify the accuracy and stability of the proposed algorithms, and their results are compared with analytical solutions or results from finite element method analysis. Good agreement obtained from these comparisons suggests that the proposed algorithms are robust and can be applied to extend the capability of SPH in solving geotechnical problems. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.