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Chin. Phys. B, 2016, Vol. 25(3): 034501    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/25/3/034501

Discrete element crowd model for pedestrian evacuation through an exit

Peng Lin(林鹏)1, Jian Ma(马剑)2, Siuming Lo(卢兆明)3
1. Department of Fire Safety Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 610031, China;
2. School of Transportation and Logistics, National United Engineering Laboratory of Integrated and Intelligent Transportation, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 610031, China;
3. Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

A series of accidents caused by crowds within the last decades evoked a lot of scientific interest in modeling the movement of pedestrian crowds. Based on the discrete element method, a granular dynamic model, in which the human body is simplified as a self-driven sphere, is proposed to simulate the characteristics of crowd flow through an exit. In this model, the repulsive force among people is considered to have an anisotropic feature, and the physical contact force due to body deformation is quantified by the Hertz contact model. The movement of the human body is simulated by applying the second Newton's law. The crowd flow through an exit at different desired velocities is studied and simulation results indicated that crowd flow exhibits three distinct states, i.e., smooth state, transition state and phase separation state. In the simulation, the clogging phenomenon occurs more easily when the desired velocity is high and the exit may as a result be totally blocked at a desired velocity of 1.6 m/s or above, leading to faster-to-frozen effect.

Keywords:  crowd evacuation      discrete element method      anisotropic social force      contact force  
Received:  09 August 2015      Revised:  19 November 2015      Accepted manuscript online: 
PACS:  45.70.Mg (Granular flow: mixing, segregation and stratification)  
  05.65.+b (Self-organized systems)  
  07.05.Tp (Computer modeling and simulation)  

Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 71473207, 51178445, and 71103148), the Research Grant Council, Government of Hong Kong, China (Grant No. CityU119011), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China (Grant Nos. 2682014CX103 and 2682014RC05).

Corresponding Authors:  Jian Ma     E-mail:

Cite this article: 

Peng Lin(林鹏), Jian Ma(马剑), Siuming Lo(卢兆明) Discrete element crowd model for pedestrian evacuation through an exit 2016 Chin. Phys. B 25 034501

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