Nonlinear force propagation during granular impact

Abram H. Clark, Alec J. Petersen, Lou Kondic, Robert P. Behringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


We experimentally study nonlinear force propagation into granular material during impact from an intruder, and we explain our observations in terms of the nonlinear grain-scale force relation. Using high-speed video and photoelastic particles, we determine the speed and spatial structure of the force response just after impact. We show that these quantities depend on a dimensionless parameter, M′=tcv0/d, where v0 is the intruder speed at impact, d is the particle diameter, and tc is the collision time for a pair of grains impacting at relative speed v0. The experiments access a large range of M′ by using particles of three different materials. When M′蠐1, force propagation is chainlike with a speed, vf, satisfying vf∞d/tc. For larger M′, the force response becomes spatially dense and the force propagation speed departs from vf∞d/tc, corresponding to collective stiffening of a strongly compressed packing of grains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144502
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 10 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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