Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 16

Numerical modeling software for advanced engineering

analysis of jointed and blocky material, groundwater, and

structural support in three dimensions.


3DEC 5.2
3DEC is a three-dimensional numerical modeling code for advanced geotechnical
analysis of stability, ground water flow, and ground support of discontinuous
materials (such as soils, jointed rock, or masonry blocks) undergoing loading.
Materials are represented as an assemblage of discrete blocks based on the
Distinct Element Method (DEM). Discontinuities are treated as boundary conditions
between blocks along which large displacements and rotations of blocks may
occur. Individual blocks may behave either rigidly or as deformable, meshed
Continuous and discontinuous discontinuities may be generated:
deterministically by specifying orientation, length, gap, and spacing;
statistically by including standard deviations values;
using FISH to script custom parameters and distributions;
using sets of Discrete Fracture Networks (DFN) of 3D disks, which can be
generated statistically or imported from geologic mapping data or third-party
software such as Fracman.
FISH scripting also allows users to write their own scripts to add functionality for
custom analyses. UDEC is the two-dimensional equivalent of 3DEC.

Cover images, top left and going clockwise:

Pillars in jointed rock with rockbolts supporting the span in between. The yellow material
is ground between the pillars that has mobilized.
Cut-away view of a geological model defined by nine intersecting faults.
Large open-pit mine intersected by three major faults showing slope movement on the
west wall.
A scale model of the 15th century Mustafa Pasha Mosque in Skopje, which underwent
a comprehensive shake table program, is modeled by the discrete element approach.
Figure courtesy of zden Saygili (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.engstruct.2016.07.044).

3DEC licenses (and any enabled options) have two parts:
the license term and the license type. The license
term may extend over a period of time of a monthly
lease, an annual lease, or in-perpetuity. The license type
may be either a standard or network USB security key
(i.e., hardware lock). When the USB key is not present,
the program operates in Demonstration Mode.


A stand-alone, single-user program. The standard type

will allow two instances of 3DEC to cycle simultaneously
on a single computer. There is no limit to the number of
instances that may be open without cycling. This allows
an unrestricted amount of model setup or analysis.
The program is secured with a USB key that must be
connected to a computer to allow cycling. The USB
security key may be moved between computers and
users as needed. This option is ideal for an individual or
for multiple users utilizing the software within the same


The software will cycle a number of 3DEC instances

equal to the number of seats purchased for the license.
The USB security key and license management software
are installed on a server while the 3DEC program is
installed on end-user computers. The program may be
installed on as many computers as needed. This license
is ideal for a centralized, IT-administered organization.


When no key is present, a dialog provides the option to

start the program in Demonstration Mode. This mode is
fully functional in every respect, except the program will
only cycle models limited to 40 blocks and 1000 zones.
There are no time restrictions in Demonstration Mode.

Use 3DEC for stability, remediation, and other
geotechnical and groundwater
analyses in civil,
environmental, mining, oil & gas, and power generation
engineering fields. The following examples are
highlighted, but through scripting and custom constitutive
models, the possibilities are virtually limitless.


Masonry architecture and structures
Earth retaining structures
Rockfill and concrete dams
Harbor structures
Dewatering and water flow
Pavement and subgrade
Waste disposal


Open-pit slopes and benches

Dewatering and water flow
Tailings dams
Underground stopes, shafts,
tunnels, caverns, and passes
Room and pillar mining
Waste rock piles
Blasting and rock bursts
Ground subsidence
Backfill design
Solution mining
Longwall mining


Conventional and unconventional

Well completions
Enhanced recovery
Fluid injection
Hydraulic fracturing
Wellbore optimization
Borehole breakout
Fault movement and integrity
Compaction and subsidence
Salt caverns
Reservoir-scale modeling
Cap rock integrity
Proppant behavior


Engineered geothermal systems

Hydroelectirc dams
Nuclear waste isolation
Hydro/thermal plants
Hydroelectric power houses
CO2 sequestration
Wind turbine foundations
Engineered barriers
Cap rock integrity

3DEC model of a tunnel intersected

by three joints forming a wedge
(orange). New cable bolt tools and
enhanced visualizations of bolt
performance are available to analyze
tunnel performance.

Displacement contours indicating the

movement of jointed rock, with major
intersecting faults, in the crown of a
large power house surge chamber.

3DEC hydraulic fracturing model showing high pore

pressure contours near the injection point and fluid
flowing outward along the joints defined by a Discrete
Fracture Network (DFN).

3DEC is ideally suited to analyze potential modes of
failure directly related to the presence of discontinuous
features. Work with either discrete blocks, zoned
continuum, or both. It includes 13 built-in zone material
models, three built-in joint models, groundwater
flow (matrix and joints), coupled mechanical-flow
calculations, ground support structural elements, and
a built-in scripting language (FISH) that can customize or automate virtually all
aspects of 3DEC operation, including user-defined properties and other variables.
3DEC can be extended with four options (Dynamic, Thermal, Surface Liner, and
C++ User-Defined Constitutive Models) that are offered separately from the base


Built-in project management tools, text editor, automatic movie-frame

generation, and extensive plotting capabilities.
Ideal for modeling large movements and deformations.
Accurate simulation of fast rotating rigid blocks.
Blocks may be rigid or automatically zoned to make deformable blocks.
Optimized to solve problems requiring non-linear multi-physics.
64-bit, double-precision calculations.
Multi-threaded algorithms with no CPU locks or additional CPU fees.
Includes groundwater joint fluid-flow.
Includes groundwater matrix (i.e., permeable solids) fluid flow. NEW
Fluid flow may be either uncoupled or fully coupled hydromechanical.
Built-in scripting language, FISH, provides powerful user-control to
parameterize, analyze, review, and modify nearly every aspect of the
simulation, even during cycling.
Track histories of model properties and results throughout the model to allow
for comparison to actual monitoring and instrumentation data.


Block generation using primitives (face, tetrahedral, brick, drum, and prism).
Automatic tunnel region generator from tunnel profile.
Automatic mesh generation in fully deformable blocks using tetrahedral and
hexahedral zones (including mixed-discretization).
Zones can be converted into bonded block models. NEW
Easily separate objects into separate geometric regions using geometric
surfaces, volumes, or geometry offsets.
Geometry creation using polygons.
Results visualization (property/results painting) on DXF or STL geometry.

Create regions using cubic blocks cut by user-defined outlines.

Wall-type blocks speed up model runs as motion and wall-to-wall contacts are
skipped in solution cycles.
Built-in block zone densification for hexahedral and tetrahedral (NEW) mesh
refinement, including automatic octree generation from surfaces and volumes.
Built-in ability to assign groups based on counting projection intersections for
defining complex groups and ranges for blocks, zones, gridpoints, contacts,
and subcontacts.
New bonded block model (BBM) tools
have been added to 3DEC so that bonded
tetrahedra elements can be used to
simulate a massive rock. The bonded
blocks may then break apart due to


Includes null, three standard elastic, and nine plastic constitutive models:
Null (for construction sequence and excavation)
Elastic (isotropic, transversely isotropic, and orthotropic)
Ubiquitous-joint (UBJ)
Strain hardening/softening
Bilinear strain hardening/softening UBJ
Double yield
Modified Cam-clay
Modified Hoek-Brown
Includes three built-in joint material models:
Continuously Yielding

Specify statistical distributions for material properties.

Groundwater fluid flow analysis is included, with:
Water table (effective stress)
Proppant simulation in fluid-filled joints. NEW
Create, load, and run customized zone and joint models via C++ (option).
Includes creep material models to simulate time-dependent material behavior.


Joint structures can be built into the model directly from geologic mapping.
Specify continuous and discontinuous joint sets by orientation, number or
spacing, origin, and persistence.
Random seed values and statistical deviations can be utilized to create
multiple realizations (examine sensitivities and risk).
Easily define non-persistent joints and their properties.
Incorporate Discrete Fracture Networks (DFNs) by specifying density and
orientation-, size-, and position-distributions for circular disks or polygons.
Import both Itasca circular disk or Fracman polygon DFN data formats.


Discontinuities (interfaces, joints, joint sets, and DFNs) are regarded as distinct
boundary interactions between blocks; joint behavior is prescribed for these
Stress, applied force (load), and velocity boundaries can be defined.
Structural elements for ground support include: beams, cables, and
(optionally) liners.
Add external infrastructure (such as dams, bridges, walls, buildings, etc.) as
finite element structures (optional).
Time-varying boundary conditions can be defined.
Couple detailed and larger far-field models for better solution efficiency.
Define in-situ stresses and stress gradients.
Includes tools to easily transfer field stresses to model stresses.
Automatically assign in-situ stresses based on model surface topology, depth,
material density, and stress-ratio values. (NEW)
Quiet (i.e., non-reflecting) and free-field boundaries (with dynamic option).


Provides powerful functionality to parameterize, analyze, review, and modify

nearly every aspect of the simulation, even during cycling.
Built-in text editor provides command syntax error checking and context
sensitive help for simpler, faster model generation.
Inline FISH (add FISH scripting within a command).

Export ASCII/binary data files; exchange information with third-party software.

Assign/read extra variables for nearly all model parts (blocks, contacts, etc.).
Filter blocks, zones, gridpoints, and contacts by groups and slots (layers).
Full scripting access to geometric data.


Automatic, fast solutions using the shear strength reduction (SSR) method and
a converging bracket approach.
Applicable for Mohr-Coulomb, Ubiquitous-Joints, Hoek-Brown, and Modified
Hoek-Brown constitutive models.
Color blocks by excess shear stress or factor of safety for a given hypothetical
set of joints. NEW

Automatic factor of safety

analysis for a jointed slope
indicates that it is stable with
minor movements of some


Extensive visual plotting capabilities, including contouring on blocks, zones,

and joint surfaces; scalar, tensor, and vector plots; 3D isosurface contouring of
gridpoint and zone data.
Equal area and equal angle stereonet plotting of DFN joint orientations,
joint normal orientations, and orientations of major, minor, and intermediate
principal stresses.
Automatically export a series of plot images at regular cycle intervals to create
a video-ready image set (third-party software required for video assembly)
Easily export history results to spreadsheet-compatible CSV files.
Export plots as PNG, DXF, VRML, SVG, and PostScript formats or as a data file.
Track and plot fragments (i.e., disconnected groups of blocks). NEW



Both continuum and discrete model

simulations possible
Numerical stability with large
displacements, including collapse
Build very large models (64-bit)
13 built-in material behaviors
Automatic factor of safety analysis
Capable of groundwater flow,
thermal, and dynamic analyses
Coupled solutions
Accommodate complex materials
and pore pressure distributions
Assess service limit state criteria
Create custom functions using FISH
Load and run custom User-Defined
material Models via C++ (optional)


Multi-core processing
Optimized solution calculations
Customize material behaviors
efficiently using optional C++ UserDefined Models (UDM)


Realistic physical solutions

Natural evolution of failure
Transparent methodology with
all equations and algorithms fully
Built-in constitutive models are
open-source; no black boxes
Strong software support led by an
experienced team of engineers,
scientists, and software developers
Extensive manuals and
Automated update notification



Tested against analytical solutions

Used by Itascas own consulting
engineers and scientists
A large repository of worked
examples and validations with more
than 1,400 published journal and
conference papers and theses
Used worldwide by a wide variety
of industries, universities, and
government agencies


General by design
Access to almost all internal
variables using FISH scripting
CAD interoperability
Import/export data using ASCII
Human-readable data files
Users may write their own
constitutive models and may modify
or add to most of the built-in
algorithms using the optional C++
Standard license is portable between
computers and users
Multiple seat network licenses
Monthly and annual leases available


No CPU limits
No annual maintenance fee
Academic discount
Two instances of 3DEC can be run on
a single computer with a standard
Standard license is portable between
computers and users
Monthly and annual leases available

NEW in 3DEC 5.2

The latest 3DEC software offers about 2x faster run time performance and even
greater improvements to model set-up time. A powerful set of new features provides
major enhancements, particularly for bonded block modeling and hydraulic


3DEC model solutions (contact calculations and fluid flow analysis)

have been sped-up through algorithmic improvements, including
more powerful cell space and contact detection logic, and multithreaded calculations. This enables 3DEC to utilize multi-core CPUs
to cycle up to 2x faster for typical applications.
Adding joint sets and cutting unjoining, deleting, and excavating
(nulling) blocks, making blocks deformable, and the application of
external boundary conditions operations have been significantly
improved making model set-up much faster.
Zoning algorithms have been improved for better quality zone
generation and automatic detection of any negative zone volumes.
Rigid block analysis is also more numerically stable.


The following enhancements have been added to cable structural

cable elements in 3DEC may now be used in dynamic simulations
forces can now be applied to cable nodes
FISH scripting intrinsics have been added to access cable node,
element, and property data
a grout friction coefficient has been added so grout strength can
be a function of confining stress
new FACEPLATE keyword connects the first node of the cable to
the grid
improved plotting of cable performance and querying of cable
state and properties



In addition to simulating fluid flow through joints, 3DEC can now

simulate fluid flow between joints into the surrounding material
(i.e., leak-off) representing a saturated, permeable solid, such as
soil or fractured rock mass (i.e., matrix).
As with joint flow, matrix flow modeling may be either coupled or
uncoupled to the usual 3DEC mechanical calculations.


New tools have been added to 3DEC so that it can be used to

simulate a massive rock as bonded polyhedral elements (e.g.,
tetrahedra) that can break at their subcontacts as a result of stress
This permits realistic simulations of the initiation and propagation
of cracks leading to extension and shear fracturing (i.e., damage),
as well as the rock mass strength dependency on confinement, and
mechanisms such as spalling and bulking.


The transport and placement of proppant within fractures is

modeled by representing the proppant and fracturing fluid as a
mixture (assuming the proppant particles are small compared to
the fracture opening, and the proppant in the mixture is given by its
volumetric concentration).
The proppant logic takes into account fluid-mechanical coupling
and several effects are represented, such as:
pack-formation (when the concentration reaches a given value,
the proppant forms a pack, leaving only the fracturing fluid to
flow through);
bridging (when the proppant stops if the fracture width is small
enough, compared to the particle size);
proppant convection (when density gradients cause fluid motion
in the fluid loaded with proppant);
settling (when there is a slip in velocity between slurry and
proppant, caused by gravity); and
viscosity changes as a function of proppant concentration.


k = 10-8 m/s

k = 10-6 m/s

3DECs fracture fluid flow has been enhanced with solid matrix fluid flow (between joints). Pore pressure
contours along several major joints and within the intact rock are shown for less (left) and more (right)
permeable materials.
3DEC model showing just the rock blocks along the periphery of a tunnel in a jointed rock mass. 3DEC
fractures can be added as joints and Discrete Fracture Networks. allowing for statistical variations.


Options in 3DEC are sold separately from the code
license, allowing users to augment the programs
functionality according to their analysis needs. Modules
available as options for 3DEC include: Dynamic,
Thermal, and User-Defined C++ Constitutive Models.


3DEC simulates the nonlinear response of a system (soil, rock, and

structures) to excitation from an external (e.g., seismic) source or
internal (e.g., vibration or blasting) sources. It can reproduce the
evolution of permanent movements due to yield. Capabilities include
specification of velocity or stress-wave input, quiet (i.e., viscous)
boundaries, free-field conditions (ideal for earthquake simulation),
and damping. The dynamic input can be applied as either a
prescribed velocity history or as a stress history.


The thermal option in 3DEC allows the simulation of transient heat

conduction. There are two separate formulations of the thermal logic.
The first is a numerical formulation using the explicit or implicit finite
difference method. This method is more accurate for short times
and includes thermal-mechanical fluid coupling. The second is an
analytical formulation that uses superposition of point heat sources
in an infinite medium. This method is suitable for long thermal times
and is very fast.


This option adds the ability to model tunnel liners and external
structures (such as dams, bridges, walls, buildings, etc.). The tunnel
liner logic automatically places equally spaced triangular-shaped
plates on the inside surface of an excavation or tunnel. External
structures can be modeled using finite elements that are attached to
the 3DEC model.


User-defined constitutive models can be written in C++ for both

zoned block materials and joint materials. These are compiled as DLL
files that can be loaded and run whenever needed with this option.
Itasca maintains an online library of UDM C++ models where users
can submit and download novel and useful constitutive models.


Dynamic model showing a pulse emanating along a tunnel and traveling though the surrounding rock
across two faults as a velocity contour. Quiet boundaries around the sides and base of the model absorb
the incoming waves. The top of the model remains a free surface.

3DEC model showing

temperature contours and
exaggerated mechanical
displacement due to thermal
effects along an underground
drift above a nuclear waste





Order: www.itascacg.com/sales
Demo: www.itascacg.com/demos

Examples: www.itascacg.com/software-examples

111 Third Ave. South

Minneapolis, MN 55401 USA
+1 (612) 371-4711
+1 (612) 371-4717



3DEC model of an arch

dam showing the water
level and contours
of pore pressure
along the joints of the
surrounding rock mass.
A built-in stereonet
chart shows the joint set