Predictability and granular materials

R. P. Behringer, Daniel Howell, Lou Kondic, Sarath Tennakoon, Christian Veje

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Granular materials present a number of challenges to predictability. The classical description of a dense granular material is based on Coulomb friction. For a static array of grains, the Coulomb friction forces are typically underdetermined. If we are to make useful statements about such arrays, we must develop new approaches, including the development of statistical descriptions. Granular materials also show large fluctuations in the local forces. These fluctuations are quite sensitive to small perturbations in the packing geometry of the grains. In the past, they have typically been ignored. However, recent experiments and models are beginning to shed new light on their characteristics. This article briefly reviews some of this new work, and in particular presents experimental results characterizing fluctuations and the role of friction in granular materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPhysica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Sep 10 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Fluctuations
  • Friction
  • Granular materials
  • Stress chains


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