Models of stress fluctuations in granular media

P Claudin, J P Bouchaud, M E Cates, J P Wittmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We investigate in detail two models describing how stresses propagate and fluctuate in granular media. The first one is a scalar model where only the vertical component of the stress tensor is considered. In the continuum limit, this model is equivalent to a diffusion equation (where the role of time is played by the vertical coordinate) plus a randomly varying convection term. We calculate the response and correlation function of this model and discuss several properties, in particular related to the stress distribution function. We then turn to the tensorial model, where the basic starting point is a wave equation that, in the absence of disorder, leads to a raylike propagation of stress. In the presence of disorder,the rays acquire a diffusive width and the angle of propagation is shifted. A striking feature is that the response function becomes negative, which suggests that the contact network is mechanically unstable to very weak perturbations. The stress correlation function reveals characteristic features related to the raylike propagation, which are absent in the scalar description. Our analytical calculations are confirmed and extended by a numerical analysis of the stochastic wave equation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4441-4457
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical review E: Statistical physics, plasmas, fluids, and related interdisciplinary topics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1998


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