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Issue 1, 2014
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A comparison between bridges and force-chains in photoelastic disk packing

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Abstract

In a dense granular material, force-chains form naturally as a backbone to support an external load. Due to the limitation of experimental techniques, the determination of the force-chain network in 3D packing is rather difficult, requiring a precise measurement of contact forces between particles. For 3D packing under gravity, it has long been proposed that bridges form as load-bearing structures. Identification of a bridge is relatively easy, requiring only the geometric information of particles. Although both concepts have existed for years, their relationship remains elusive. In this study, we aim towards resolving such a connection by comparing bridges and force-chains in packing of photoelastic disks. No direct correspondence between bridges and force-chains is observed. In addition, when a bridge grows longer, its probability of being a force-chain or part of the force-chain network decreases exponentially. Nonetheless, both are consistent in distinguishing certain properties of packing of strong hysteresis. To test the load-bearing assumption of bridges, stresses of particles in/out of bridges are analysed and compared and only minor differences are found.

Graphical abstract: A comparison between bridges and force-chains in photoelastic disk packing

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Jul 2013, accepted on 21 Oct 2013 and first published on 23 Oct 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52056K
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 109-114
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    A comparison between bridges and force-chains in photoelastic disk packing

    L. Zhang, S. Cai, Z. Hu and J. Zhang, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 109
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52056K

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