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Wire meshes

Wire meshes are discontinuous structures which are composed by a connection of distinct wire elements with a specific regular pattern (e.g. diamond, hexagonal, etc..).

They are worldwide used as protective structures in hazardous sloping regions and mining areas, however, their mechanical behaviour still be poorly understood. Wire meshes have different applications ranging from very dynamic phenomena such as debris flows and rockfall (rockfall fences) to quasi-static conditions as, for instance, slope stabilization (cortical meshes) and river erosion (gabions).

DEM modelling of meshes

The discrete element method (DEM) is here applied to get an insight into the mechanical behaviour of such structures. The mesh is simulated as an ensemble of spheres connected by remote interactions or as a connection of cylindrical elements .

The numerical model has been validated on experimental tests and extended to simplified in-situ applications. Varying the geometry of the retaining system (fixities, dimension, inclination), the retained material (type, grains size, constitutive model at the contact) and the mesh type several numerical simulations were carried out in order to enhance the comprehension of the in-field mechanical response of wire mesh systems.

Impact of two blocks on a double-twisted exagoonal wire mesh (Gabrieli, Thoeni, Martin)
Punch test on a mesh panel .

3D in-situ mesh panel .


Pol, A., Gabrieli, F., Thoeni, K., & Mazzon, N. (2017). Modellazione agli elementi discreti di prove di punzonamento di una rete corticale doppio torta a maglia esagonale. VII IAGIG - Incontro Annuale Giovani Ingegneri.
Gabrieli, F., Pol, A., & Thoeni, K. (2017). Comparison of two DEM strategies for modelling cortical meshes. 5th International Conference on Particle-Based Methods - Fundamentals and Applications, Particles 2017, 489–496.
Gabrieli, F., Pol, A., & Thoeni, K. (2017). Discrete Element Modelling of Cortical Wire Meshes. ICCS20 - 20th International Conference on Composite Structures, 55–56.
Pol, A., Gabrieli, F., Thoeni, K., & Mazzon, N. (2017). Discrete element modelling of punch tests with a double-twist hexagonal wire mesh. RocExs 2017 6th Interndisciplinary Workshop on Rockfall Protection, 145–148.
Pol, A., Gabrieli, F., Thoeni, K., & Mazzon, N. (2018). Discrete element modelling of a soil-mesh interaction problem. European Rock Mechanics Symposium 2018 - EUROCK 2018.
Gabrieli, F., Pol, A., Thoeni, K., & Mazzon, N. (2018). Particle-based modelling of cortical meshes for soil retaining applications. 1, 391–397.
Pol, A., Gabrieli, F., & Mazzon, N. (2020). Enhancement of Design Methodologies of Anchored Mesh Systems Using the Discrete Element Method. In F. Calvetti, F. Cotecchia, A. Galli, & C. Jommi (Eds.), Geotechnical Research for Land Protection and Development (pp. 500–508). Springer International Publishing.