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      Extraction of Force-Chain Network Architecture in Granular Materials Using Community Detection


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          Force chains form heterogeneous physical structures that can constrain the mechanical stability and acoustic transmission of granular media. However, despite their relevance for predicting bulk properties of materials, there is no agreement on a quantitative description of force chains. Consequently, it is difficult to compare the force-chain structures in different materials or experimental conditions. To address this challenge, we treat granular materials as spatially-embedded networks in which the nodes (particles) are connected by weighted edges that represent contact forces. We use techniques from community detection, which is a type of clustering, to find sets of closely connected particles. By using a geographical null model that is constrained by the particles' contact network, we extract chain-like structures that are reminiscent of force chains. We propose three diagnostics to measure these chain-like structures, and we demonstrate the utility of these diagnostics for identifying and characterizing classes of force-chain network architectures in various materials. To illustrate our methods, we describe how force-chain architecture depends on pressure for two very different types of packings: (1) ones derived from laboratory experiments and (2) ones derived from idealized, numerically-generated frictionless packings. By resolving individual force chains, we quantify statistical properties of force-chain shape and strength, which are potentially crucial diagnostics of bulk properties (including material stability). These methods facilitate quantitative comparisons between different particulate systems, regardless of whether they are measured experimentally or numerically.

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          Most cited references 10

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          Contact force measurements and stress-induced anisotropy in granular materials.

          Interparticle forces in granular media form an inhomogeneous distribution of filamentary force chains. Understanding such forces and their spatial correlations, specifically in response to forces at the system boundaries, represents a fundamental goal of granular mechanics. The problem is of relevance to civil engineering, geophysics and physics, being important for the understanding of jamming, shear-induced yielding and mechanical response. Here we report measurements of the normal and tangential grain-scale forces inside a two-dimensional system of photoelastic disks that are subject to pure shear and isotropic compression. Various statistical measures show the underlying differences between these two stress states. These differences appear in the distributions of normal forces (which are more rounded for compression than shear), although not in the distributions of tangential forces (which are exponential in both cases). Sheared systems show anisotropy in the distributions of both the contact network and the contact forces. Anisotropy also occurs in the spatial correlations of forces, which provide a quantitative replacement for the idea of force chains. Sheared systems have long-range correlations in the direction of force chains, whereas isotropically compressed systems have short-range correlations regardless of the direction.
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            Force fluctuations in bead packs.

            Experimental observations and numerical simulations of the large force inhomogeneities present in stationary bead packs are presented. Forces much larger than the mean occurred but were exponentially rare. An exactly soluble model reproduced many aspects of the experiments and simulations. In this model, the fluctuations in the force distribution arise because of variations in the contact angles and the constraints imposed by the force balance on each bead in the pile.
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              Topological evolution in dense granular materials: A complex networks perspective


                Author and article information

                1408.3841 10.1039/c4sm01821d


                Custom metadata
                Soft Matter, 2015, 11(14):2731-44
                15 pages, 13 figures, and 2 appendices
                cond-mat.soft nlin.AO nlin.PS


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