The PFEM has shown a great potential for modeling large deformation problems in geotechnics. In fact, the method can track in a natural way the deforming shape of the soil body, compute accurately the contact interaction between the soil and external tools (for example in excavation processes or cone penetration tests), and consider complex constitutive models. These skills explain the recent large use of the method in geotechnics. Here, we give an overview of some of the recent applications of the PFEM to the geotechnical field.

In the video below, we show a PFEM simulation of a 
cone penetration in situ test (CPTu) in potentially liquefiable materials [3]. A state-parameter dependent constitutive model (CASM) has been used. The video shows the evolution of water pressure, mean effective stress and deviatoric stress during undrained CPTu testing. At the top, the behavior of a liquefiable material is shown, while the animations at the bottom refer to a non-liquefiable material.

Cone penetration test in liquefiable materials [3]

Here below, we show the PFEM simulation of a biaxial test in a strain-softening material obtained using a non-local regularization technique [2]. In the video, we show the evolution of the mesh, vertical stress, incremental plastic deviatoric strain and current bonding (amount of available structure) for a fine (top) and coarse mesh (bottom).

Biaxial test on structured soil [2]

The mechanism of insertion of a rough pile in soils is of great interest in geotechnics. This complex non-linear problem has been approached recently with a PFEM model in [1]. In the following video, we plot the total vertical Cauchy stress of a soft clay during the process of insertion of a rough pile. 

Insertion of a rough pile [1]

In a recent work, a PFEM formulation has been applied to the simulation of the impact of a spherical free-falling penetrometer into the seabed. In the next video, we show the evolution of water pressure in this complex dynamics problem.

Free-falling penetrometer [4]

[1] L. Monforte L (2018). Insertion problems in geomechanics with the Particle Finite Element method. PhD thesis, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya.
[2] L. Monforte , M. O. Ciantia, J. M. Carbonell, M. Arroyo, A. Gens (2019). A stable mesh-independent approach for numerical modelling of structured soils at large strains. Computers and Geotechnics, 116,103215.
[3] L. Monforte, A. Gens, M. Arroyo, M. Mánica, J.M. Carbonell (2021). Analysis of cone penetration in brittle liquefiable soils. Computers and Geotechnics, 134, 104123
[4] J.M. Carbonell, L. Monforte, M.O. Ciantia,  M. Arroyo & A. Gens (2022). Geotechnical particle finite element method for modeling of soil-structure interation under large deformation conditions. Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering,