Primary wave transmission in systems of elastic rods with granular interfaces

Yuli Starosvetsky, Alexander F. Vakakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study analytically and numerically primary pulse transmission in one dimensional systems of identical linearly elastic non-dispersive rods separated by identical homogeneous granular layers composed of n beads. The beads interact elastically through a strongly (essentially) nonlinear Hertzian contact law. The main challenge in studying pulse transmission in such strongly nonlinear media is to analyze the 'basic problem', namely, the dynamical response of a single intermediate granular layer, confined from both ends by barely touching linear elastic rods subject to impulsive excitation of the left rod. The analysis of the basic problem is carried out under two basic assumptions; namely, of sufficiently small duration of the shock excitation applied to the first layer of the system, and of sufficiently small mass of each bead in the granular interface compared to the mass of each rod. In fact, the smallness of the mass of the bead defines the small parameter in the asymptotic analysis of this problem. Both assumptions are reasonable from the point of view of practical applications. In the analysis we focus only in primary pulse propagation, by neglecting secondary pulse reflections caused by wave scattering at each granular interface and considering only the transmission of the main (primary) pulse across the interface to the neighboring elastic rod. Two types of shock excitations are considered. The first corresponds to fixed time duration (but still much smaller compared to the characteristic time of pulse propagation through the length of each rod), whereas the second type corresponds to a pulse duration that depends on the small parameter of the problem. The influence of the number of beads of the granular interface on the primary wave transmission is studied, and it is shown that at granular interfaces with a relatively low number of beads fast time scale oscillations are excited with increasing amplitudes with increasing number of beads. For a larger number of beads, primary pulse transmission is by means of solitary wave trains resulting from the dispersion of the original shock pulse; in that case fast oscillations result due to interference phenomena caused by the scattering of the main pulse at the boundary of the interface. Considering a periodic system of rods we demonstrate significant reduction of the primary pulse when transmitted through a sequence of granular interfaces. This result highlights the efficacy of applying granular interfaces for passive shock mitigation in layered elastic media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-585
Number of pages18
JournalWave Motion
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Essential nonlinearity
  • Granular media
  • Wave propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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