A numerical study of the dynamics of the surface grain in a granular chain and the role of gravity

Edgar Ávalos, Jan M.M. Pfannes, T. R. Krishna Mohan, Surajit Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


We revisit the dynamical behavior of particles in a chain of spherical elastic grains, where the system is assumed to be placed in such a way that the grains suffer progressive loading as function of depth due to the presence of the gravitational acceleration g. Here we address, for the first time, the dynamics of the surface grain in this rather well studied problem (see [R.S. Sinkovits, S. Sen, Phys. Rev. Lett. 74 (1995) 2686; J. Hong, J.Y. Ji, H. Kim, Phys. Rev. Lett. 82 (1999) 3058]) and make predictions that may be verified experimentally by monitoring the dynamics of a single edge grain. When g → 0, the surface grain dynamics can be associated with the problem of propagation of solitary waves in the chain. When g > 0, the dynamics of the surface grain turns out to be dramatically different, reflective of the very different dynamics exhibited by the grains in a gravitationally loaded chain. As we shall see, these studies provide a necessary first step towards developing an understanding of a difficult but important problem in physics and engineering - namely, the dynamics of the surface grains of a gravitationally loaded close-packed granular bed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-218
Number of pages8
JournalPhysica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jan 15
Externally publishedYes


  • Granular chain
  • Granular media
  • Impulse propagation
  • Solitary waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics


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