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Heterogeneities in Granular Dynamics

A. Mehta, G. C. Barker and J. M. Luck
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 105, No. 24 (Jun. 17, 2008), pp. 8244-8249
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25462767
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Heterogeneities in Granular Dynamics
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Abstract

The absence of Brownian motion in granular media is a source of much complexity, including the prevalence of heterogeneity, whether static or dynamic, within a given system. Such strong heterogeneities can exist as a function of depth in a box of grains; this is the system we study here. First, we present results from three-dimensional, cooperative and stochastic Monte Carlo shaking simulations of spheres on heterogeneous density fluctuations. Next, we juxtapose these with results obtained from a theoretical model of a column of grains under gravity; frustration via competing local fields is included in our model, whereas the effect of gravity is to slow down the dynamics of successively deeper layers. The combined conclusions suggest that the dynamics of a real granular column can be divided into different phases-ballistic, logarithmic, activated, and glassy-as a function of depth. The nature of the ground states and their retrieval (under zero-temperature dynamics) is analyzed; the glassy phase shows clear evidence of its intrinsic ("crystalline") states, which lie below a band of approximately degenerate ground states. In the other three phases, by contrast, the system jams into a state chosen randomly from this upper band of metastable states.

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