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Discrete element method

Discrete element methods (DEM) comprise a family of related mathematical tools for determining the kinematic behavior of finite-sized particles. As defined by Cundall, discrete element methods allow

1. finite displacement, rotation and separation of elements, and
2. new particle contacts are recognized algorithmically as the simulation proceeds.

Two prominent members of the DEM family are the distinct element method proposed by Cundall in 1971, and the discontinuous deformation analysis (DDA) proposed by Shi in 1988.