Publishable Summary

The objective of the SAFECON project has been the development and validation of a new generation of computational methods for predicting the safety of constructions in presence of water-induced hazards.

The main scientific achievenments in SAFECON include: a) the development and experimental validation of a next generation of predictive methods integrating new particle-based methods and the finite element method for estimating accurately the dynamics of 3D free surface particulate flows and their interaction with constructions accounting for fluid-soil-structure-interaction (FSSI) effects. b) The extension of the new computational methods for solving large scale FSSI problems allowing for failure mechanisms in the structure and the soil, and c) The application of the new computational methods for predicting the risk of failure in civil constructions under the forces induced by a particulate flow stream.

In SAFECON we have extended the particle finite element method (PFEM) developed at CIMNE in the last 10 years for fluid-structure –interaction analysis ( The PFEM treats the mesh nodes in the fluid and solid domains as Lagrangian particles which can freely move and even separate from the main fluid domain representing, for instance, the effect of water splashing. A mesh connects the nodes defining the discretized domain where the governing equations for the fluid and the solid are solved using the standard finite element method (FEM).

In SAFECON we have integrated the PFEM and the Discrete Element Method (DEM) for obtaining a new computational method, called PDFEM, for FSSI analysis in presence of heterogeneous particulate flows. The new PDFEM has been implemented in multi-core and GPU machines for the solving large scale FSSI problems of practical interest.

The accuracy and usefulness of the PDFEM has been validated in ad-hoc experimental tests in specialized laboratories including: a) erosion of a river bed by a water stream, b) impact of a melt of water and soil/rock particles with rigid and deformable structures, and c) stability of a rockfill dam under seepage forces and overtopping situations in exceptional flooding events.

The computational technology developed in SAFECON will allow engineers to accurately modelling and simulating the following problems of practical interest in water hazard situations:

The SAFECON computational technology will help engineers for the enhanced design, building and maintenance of new protective constructions under extreme floods, as well as for the surveillance, risk management and monitoring of existing constructions and landscape in flooding situations

CIMNE -- C/Gran Capitán SN, UPC Campus Nord , C1 , Barcelona, Spain --