Prof. Dr. E. Anderheggen
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Three-dimensional numerical simulation of dynamic penetration

This research project, carried out in cooperation with the Hilti Corp. and supported by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (KTI), has the goal of numerically simulating the penetration of powder-actuated steel nails into a nonhomogeneous substrate. The corresponding fastening technique was developed by the Hilti Co. and is employed world-wide.

In this project a three-dimensional finite element model has been adopted, comprising the development of special mechanical models for the piston, nail and substrate components. This approach allows the analysis of the plastic deformation causing dynamic buckling of the penetrating nail as well as to take into account heterogeneities in the substrate material, as is the case for concrete.

The large number of elements and time-steps required by the explicit difference method lead to computationally extremely demanding tasks. Therefore, the solver has been designed as a scalable parallel program running on any number of processors. The standard Message Passing Model has been used for this purpose.

A comprehensive and expandable software package has been developed consisting of a preprocessor for generating the finite element mesh, a solver for performing computations and a graphical-interactive post-processor for visualising results. All these software modules have been written in C++ using advanced object-oriented programming methods. Much attention has being paid to the software documentation in order to produce a helpful tool suited to the actual and future needs of our industrial partner.


Prof. Dr. Edoardo Anderheggen
Dr. Juan Renau


Hilti AG, Schaan/FL
Commission for Technology and Inovation (KTI), Bern


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