Finite element analysis of particle impact problems

  • Chuan-Yu Wu

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Particle impacts are of fundamental importance in many areas and there has been a renewed interest in research on particle impact problems. A comprehensive investigation of the particle impact problems, using finite element (FE) methods, is presented in this thesis. The capability of FE procedures for modelling particle impacts is demonstrated by excellent agreements between FE analysis results and previous theoretical, experimental and numerical results. For normal impacts of elastic particles, it is found that the energy loss due to stress wave propagation is negligible if it can reflect more than three times during the impact, for which Hertz theory provides a good prediction of impact behaviour provided that the contact deformation is sufficiently small. For normal impact of plastic particles, the energy loss due to stress wave propagation is also generally negligible so that the energy loss is mainly due to plastic deformation. Finite-deformation plastic impact is addressed in this thesis so that plastic impacts can be categorised into elastic-plastic impact and finite-deformation plastic impact. Criteria for the onset of finite-deformation plastic impacts are proposed in terms of impact velocity and material properties. It is found that the coefficient of restitution depends mainly upon the ratio of impact velocity to yield Vni/Vy0 for elastic-plastic impacts, but it is proportional to [(Vni/Vy0)*(Y/E*)]-1/2, where Y /E* is the representative yield strain for finite-deformation plastic impacts. A theoretical model for elastic-plastic impacts is also developed and compares favourably with FEA and previous experimental results. The effect of work hardening is also investigated.
Date of Award2001
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLong-Yuan Li (Supervisor) & C. Thornton (Supervisor)


  • finite element analysis
  • particle impact problems

Cite this