Natural Hazards

Natural hazards and emergency management are very important topics in the face of climate change. Preventive measures as well as necessary plans for evacuation can be supported and optimized by virtualization and simulation of the respective processes.

MESHFREE specializes on the simulation of continuum mechanical phenomena such as:

  • Free surfaces: dam breaks and floodings
  • Multiphase scenarios: avalanches and debris flow
  • Fluid-Structure-Interaction (FSI): floating bridges

MESHFREE Use Cases – Avalanches

Simulations with MESHFREE contribute to forecasting potential runout zones of avalanches as well as potential effects on protective barriers.

Material Model

One of the keyfeatures in modeling avalanches is the specification of the material characteristics. MESHFREE offers several in-built options (viscous, elastic, mixture, barodetic) as well as a general yield stress model for granular media (Drucker-Prager) that the user can define individually in the input. The latter one is also used to simulate the interaction of a car with sand.

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Real Avalanche Simulation © Fraunhofer ITWM, Geodata: with friendly support of BFW Austria

Boundary Conditions

One-phase Scenario
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Formation of the runout zone depending on the friction coefficicient (orange: 10^3, magenta: 10^4, green: 10^5).

The behavior of an avalanche and the formation of the runout zone not only depends on the material but also strongly depends on the texture of the surface geometry. This interaction can be characterized by friction.


During an avalanche, debris in the form of trees, boulders, cars etc can be entrained. We realize different coupling scenarios between debris and avalanche with MESHFREE.

Simple Avalanche Simulation in Two Phases © Fraunhofer ITWM

MESHFREE Use Cases – Floating Bridges

In case of floodings, floating bridges are used to support the transport of relief supplies such as food and medicine. With MESHFREE, you test virtually the stability of these elements regarding different load cases.

Fraunhofer ITWM