High-amplitude elastic solitary wave propagation in 1-D granular chains with preconditioned beads: Experiments and theoretical analysis

Erheng Wang, Mohith Manjunath, Amnaya P. Awasthi, Raj Kumar Pal, Philippe H. Geubelle, John Lambros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elastic solitary waves resulting from Hertzian contact in one-dimensional (1-D) granular chains have demonstrated promising properties for wave tailoring such as amplitude-dependent wave speed and acoustic band gap zones. However, as load increases, plasticity or other material nonlinearities significantly affect the contact behavior between particles and hence alter the elastic solitary wave formation. This restricts the possible exploitation of solitary wave properties to relatively low load levels (up to a few hundred Newtons). In this work, a method, which we term preconditioning, based on contact pre-yielding is implemented to increase the contact force elastic limit of metallic beads in contact and consequently enhance the ability of 1-D granular chains to sustain high-amplitude elastic solitary waves. Theoretical analyses of single particle deformation and of wave propagation in a 1-D chain under different preconditioning levels are presented, while a complementary experimental setup was developed to demonstrate such behavior in practice. The experimental results show that 1-D granular chains with preconditioned beads can sustain high amplitude (up to several kN peak force) solitary waves. The solitary wave speed is affected by both the wave amplitude and the preconditioning level, while the wave spatial wavelength is still close to 5 times the preconditioned bead size. Comparison between the theoretical and experimental results shows that the current theory can capture the effect of preconditioning level on the solitary wave speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-173
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Contact mechanics
  • Granular material
  • Kolsky bar
  • Stress concentrations
  • Stress waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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