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3D numerical model of snow deformation without failure and its application to cold room mechanical tests

Abstract : A three-dimensional model developed for the slow deformation, without macroscopic failure, of a stratified snow cover has been used to simulate laboratory mechanical tests performed on sieved snow. The model is based on a non-linear visco-elastic constitutive law for snow whose parameters depend on the snow temperature and density. Snow densification is derived from the bulk viscous strain. The model has been implemented in the Flac3D finite-difference code. The experimental device is a convergent channel in which snow is forced at a constant velocity in the range 1–100 μm s− 1. Although snow is compressed under plane strain conditions, the channel geometry allows obtaining a multi-axial stress-state. Since the testing conditions involve ranges of variation of both the snow density and the strain-rate wider than those encountered for a natural snowpack, the constitutive relations of the model had to be modified. In this paper we present the constitutive model for snow, some details about its implementation into the Flac3D code, and its application to the numerical simulation of the mechanical tests. The comparison of the model and experimental results shows a relatively good agreement, although snow microstructure is accounted for only through its density. However, the treatment of the non-linearity of the viscosity must be improved. This 3D numerical model can be regarded as an interesting tool for assessing a constitutive law for snow on the basis of cold-room experiments, as well as for studying natural snow covers.
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Jean-Pierre Navarre, Jacques Meyssonnier, Alexandre Vagnon. 3D numerical model of snow deformation without failure and its application to cold room mechanical tests. Cold Regions Science and Technology, Elsevier, 2007, 50 (1-3), pp.3 à 12. ⟨10.1016/j.coldregions.2007.04.002⟩. ⟨insu-00377206⟩



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