Strongly nonlinear wave dynamics of continuum phononic materials with periodic rough contacts

Ganesh U. Patil, Kathryn H. Matlack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate strongly nonlinear wave dynamics of continuum phononic material with discrete nonlinearity. The studied phononic material is a layered medium such that the elastic layers are connected through contact interfaces with rough surfaces. These contacts exhibit nonlinearity by virtue of nonlinear mechanical deformation of roughness under compressive loads and strong nonlinearity stemming from their inability to support tensile loads. We study the evolution of propagating Gaussian tone bursts using time-domain finite element simulations. The elastodynamic effects of nonlinearly coupled layers enable strongly nonlinear energy transfer in the frequency domain by activating acoustic resonances of the layers. Further, the interplay of strong nonlinearity and dispersion in our phononic material forms stegotons, which are solitarylike localized traveling waves. These stegotons satisfy properties of solitary waves, yet exhibit local variations in their spatial profiles and amplitudes due to the presence of layers. We also elucidate the role of rough contact nonlinearity on the interrelationship between the stegoton parameters as well as on the generation of secondary stegotons from the collision of counterpropagating stegotons. The phononic material exhibits strong acoustic attenuation at frequencies close to (and fractional multiples of) layer resonances, whereas it causes energy propagation as stegotons for other frequencies. This study sheds light on the wave phenomena achievable in continuum periodic media with local nonlinearity, and opens opportunities for advanced wave control through discrete and local contact nonlinearity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA50
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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