Developing and Calibrating Fragmental Rockfall Models using Physics Engines

The objectives of the research work are to: (1) Develop a field data collection methodology to observe rockfall events, generated by scaling projects. Develop a detailed database of rockfall events, collected and analyzed from DOT rock slope scaling projects, and utilize this database to define ranges of input parameters needed to simulate rockfalls. (2) Build a user interface with the selected physics engine to permit model self-calibration based on observations, and generate numerous simulations providing probabilistic output data. Define and produce useable metrics such as runout distance for a defined % of the volume, bounce height and energy etc. (3) Determine the basis for decisions related to goodness of fit of simulations, and simulate many known rockfall events to define appropriate ranges of input parameters to generate realistic fragmental rockfall models for different geological settings and slope condition states. (4) Simulate the interaction between falling fragments and the underlying slope, considering geology, geometry and whether the blocks will be impacting outcropping rock, talus, soil, and possibly vegetation, to refine the fragmentation model.


  • English


  • Status: Programmed
  • Funding: $770000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

    Research Development & Technology Transfer
    3132 Channel Dr
    Juneau, AK  United States 

    Arizona Department of Transportation

    206 South 17th Avenue
    Phoenix, AZ  United States  85007

    New York State Department of Transportation

    50 Wolf Road
    Albany, NY  United States  12232

    Colorado Department of Transportation

    2829 W. Howard Place
    Denver, CO  United States  80204

    Washington State Department of Transportation

    Transportation Building
    Olympia, WA  United States  98504

    Texas Department of Transportation

    125 E. 11th Street
    Austin, TX  United States  78701-2483

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349

    California Department of Transportation

    1227 O Street
    Sacramento, CA  United States  95814
  • Project Managers:

    Peterson, Jon

  • Start Date: 20220802
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01747747
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Federal Highway Administration
  • Contract Numbers: TPF-5(459)
  • Created Date: Aug 12 2020 2:03PM