Wave propagation in elasto-plastic granular systems

Raj Kumar Pal, Amnaya P. Awasthi, Philippe H. Geubelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Due to the nonlinear nature of the inter-particle contact, granular chains made of elastic spheres are known to transmit solitary waves under impulse loading. However, the localized contact between spherical granules leads to stress concentration, resulting in plastic behavior even for small forces. In this work, we investigate the effects of plasticity in wave propagation in elasto-plastic granular systems. In the first part of this work, a force-displacement law between contacting elastic-perfectly plastic spheres is developed using a nonlinear finite element analysis. In the second part, this force-displacement law is used to simulate wave propagation in one-dimensional granular chains. In elasto-plastic chains, energy dissipation leads to the formation and merging of wave trains, which have characteristics very different from those of elastic chains. Scaling laws for peak force at each contact point along the chain, velocity of the leading wave, local contact and total dissipation are developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-758
Number of pages12
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Contact law
  • Dissipation rates
  • Elasto-plastic spheres
  • Granular chains
  • Wave propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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