Thursday, April 25, 2013

1304.6692 (N. Upadhyaya et al.)

Soliton attenuation and emergent hydrodynamics in fragile matter    [PDF]

N. Upadhyaya, L. R. Gomez, V. Vitelli
Disordered packings of soft grains are fragile mechanical systems that loose rigidity upon lowering the external pressure towards zero. At zero pressure, we find that any infinitesimal strain-impulse propagates initially as a non-linear solitary wave progressively attenuated by disorder. We demonstrate that the particle fluctuations generated by the solitary-wave decay, can be viewed as a granular analogue of temperature. Their presence is manifested by two emergent macroscopic properties absent in the unperturbed granular packing: a finite pressure that scales with the injected energy (akin to a granular temperature) and an anomalous viscosity that arises even when the microscopic mechanisms of energy dissipation are negligible. Consistent with the interpretation of this state as a fluid-like thermalized state, the shear modulus remains zero. Further, we follow in detail the attenuation of the initial solitary wave identifying two distinct regimes : an initial exponential decay, followed by a longer power law decay and suggest simple models to explain these two regimes.
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