Application of the edge function method to rock mechanics problems

J. F. Dwyer, B. Amadei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The edge function method is considered as an alternative to conventional numerical schemes for the solution of plane problems in rock mechanics. The essence of the approach is the approximation of the solution by a linear combination of solutions of the field equations. The unknowns in the linear combination are obtained from a system of equations which follows from the approximation of the boundary conditions by a boundary Galerkin energy method. No mesh generation is required over the domain or boundary of the problem. Previous edge function work in anisotropic elasticity is enhanced by the incorporation of a special solution for the effect of gravity. Examples are presented to illustrate the applicability of the method in determining stresses in various rock mechanics problems. A high level of accuracy is achieved with a relatively small number of degrees of freedom. Convergence is rapid because of the inclusion of special analytic solutions to model stress concentrations. The inclusion of the gravity force does, however, lead to a small increase in the number of degrees of freedom needed to achieve acceptable results. The optimum use of the edge function method, at present, may be as a special element within more general finite element or discrete element codes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-209
Number of pages25
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1995


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