Numerical simulation of percussive drilling

Alexandre Depouhon, Vincent Denoël, Emmanuel M Detournay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This paper presents a novel dynamical model to analyze the long-term response of a percussive drilling system. This departs from existing approaches that usually consider a single activation and bit/rock interaction cycle for the analysis of the process performance. The proposed model integrates the axial dynamics of an elastic piston and an elastic drill bit, a motion-dependent pressure law to drive the piston, and a generalized bit/rock interaction law representative of the dynamic indentation taking place at the bit/rock interface. It applies to down-the-hole percussive drilling as well as top-hole, with minor modifications. The model does not account for the angular motion or the hole cleaning, however. The model is first formulated mathematically; then, a finite-dimensional approximation is proposed for computations. Numerical analyses of the model response, for a low-size down-the-hole percussive system, follow. The period-1 stationary response for the reference configuration is studied in detail, and parametric analyses assessing the influence on the rate of penetration of the bit/rock interaction parameters, the feed force, and the percussive activation parameters are conducted. These analyses reveal that the multiscale nature of the process is well captured by the model and recover expected trends for the influence of the parameters. They also suggest that a significant increase of the penetration rate can be achieved by increasing the percussive frequency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-912
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 10 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Bit/rock interaction
  • Dynamical systems
  • Percussive drilling
  • Rate of penetration


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