Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Investigating Granular Structure with Spatial and Temporal Methods
by Owens, Eli Thomas, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2012, 133; 3538538
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation reports studies of the internal structure of jammed granular materials and how granular sound propagation and vibrational modes are influenced by disorder in particle positions and contact forces. We investigate the role of particle scale forces on sound amplitude and speed, how to characterize the bulk pressure via the density of states, and force network modularity. We perform our experiments on a vertical, 2D, photoelastic granular material. Acoustic waves are excited from the bottom of the system and observed via particle scale sensors and a high speed camera. This novel combination of spatial and temporal measurements allows us to observe the role of force chains in sound propagation. The sound amplitude is largest through particles with strong contact forces, and we see that sound travels fastest along high force paths, giving rise to multiple sound speeds. Combining acoustic excitations with a method from thermal physics, we developed a new method to measure the density of modes, D(f). From D( f), we define a critical frequency, fc, that scales with the bulk pressure, and comparing D( f) to Debye scaling, we find an excess of low frequency modes. Disorder in the force chain network and particle configurations plays a crucial role in D(f), as Debye scaling is only recovered for high pressure, hexagonally ordered packings. Finally, we characterize the force network by dividing it into modules of highly connected nodes. These communities become progressively more ordered as the pressure on the system is increased and the force chains become more uniform. Together, these studies illustrate the importance of the force chains in understanding static and dynamic granular properties.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Daniels, Karen E.
Commitee: Krim, Jacqueline, Shearer, Michael, Weninger, Keith
School: North Carolina State University
Department: Physics
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-B 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Physics, Acoustics
Keywords: Contact forces, Density of states, Force chains, Granular structure, Particle positions, Sound propagation
Publication Number: 3538538
ISBN: 978-1-303-01563-2
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