We have recently developed some simple continuum models of static granular media which display "fragile" behavior: They predict that the medium is unable to support certain types of infinitesimal load (which we call "incompatible" loads) without plastic rearrangement. We argue that a fragile description may be appropriate when the mechanical integrity of the medium arises adaptively, in response to a load, through an internal jamming process. We hypothesize that a network of force chains (or "granular skeleton") evolves until it can just support the applied load, at which point it comes to rest; it then remains intact so long as no incompatible load is applied. Our fragile models exhibits unusual mechanical responses involving hyperbolic equations for stress propagation along fixed characteristics through the material. These characteristics represent force chains; their arrangement expressly depends on the construction history. Thus, for example, we predict a large difference in the stress pattern beneath two conical piles of sand, one poured from a point source and one created by sieving. (C) 1999 American Institute of Physics. [S1054-1500(99)00303-1].
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 1999|