Research mission & relevance
SLAB focuses on better understanding and simulating the initiation and propagation of gravitational mass movements, with particular focus on snow and avalanche mechanics. We develop numerical models based on the Material Point Method (MPM) which is an ideal candidate for modelling large deformations, fractures, collisions and coexistence between solid- and fluid behaviors. Our work has the potential to break a critical science barrier in mass wasting science, namely modeling the whole instability process, from microstructural failure to dynamic crack propagation and flow at the slope scale and in a unified manner. Model results are validated by comparison to field and laboratory experiments performed at the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos. The outcomes of our research have the potential to lead to an unparalleled insight into the mechanics of alpine mass movements and ultimately improve risk assessment and management.