In many engineering applications, such as tribology and rock mechanics, it is very important to understand the deformation of rough fractures to evaluate the safety and profitability of the project. Since a lot of materials can be characterized as visco-elastic materials, it is very significant to simulate the visco-elastic deformation of rough fractures. This chapter focuses on using the boundary element method to simulate visco-elastic deformations of rough fractures. First, the principles and procedures of the above-mentioned method will be introduced. Then, one example will be given in detail. This example investigates the effect of surface geometry on visco-elastic deformations of rough rock fractures under normal compressive stresses. The rock fracture surfaces are assumed to be self-affine, and synthetic rough surfaces are generated by systematically changing three surface roughness parameters: the Hurst exponent, root mean square roughness, and mismatch length. The results indicate that by decreasing the Hurst exponent or increasing the root mean square roughness or increasing the mismatch length, the fracture mean aperture increases, and the contact ratio (the number of contacting cells/total number of cells) increases slower with time. Finally, the limitations and possible future research directions will be briefly discussed.
Part of the book: Recent Developments in the Solution of Nonlinear Differential Equations