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Issue 29, 2017
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The sandpile revisited: computer assisted determination of constitutive relations and the breaking of scaling

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Abstract

We revisit the problem of the stress distribution in a frictional sandpile with both normal and tangential (frictional) inter-granular forces, under gravity, equipped with a new numerical method of generating such assemblies. Numerical simulations allow a determination of the spatial dependence of all the components of the stress field, principle stress axis, angle of repose, as a function of systems size, the coefficient of static friction and the frictional interaction with the bottom surface. We compare these results with the predictions of a theory based on continuum equilibrium mechanics. Basic to the theory of sandpiles are assumptions about the form of scaling solutions and constitutive relations for cohesive-less hard grains for which no typical scale is available. We find that these constitutive relations must be modified; moreover for smaller friction coefficients and smaller piles these scaling assumptions break down in the bulk of the sandpile due to the presence of length scales that must be carefully identified. Fortunately, for larger friction coefficient and for larger piles the breaking of scaling is weak in the bulk, allowing an approximate analytic theory which agrees well with the observations. After identifying the crucial scale, triggering the breaking of scaling, we provide a predictive theory to when scaling solutions are expected to break down. At the bottom of the pile the scaling assumption breaks always, due to the different interactions with the bottom surface. The consequences for measurable quantities like the pressure distribution and shear stress at the bottom of the pile are discussed. For example one can have a transition from no dip in the base-pressure to a dip at the center of the pile as friction increases.

Graphical abstract: The sandpile revisited: computer assisted determination of constitutive relations and the breaking of scaling

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 May 2017, accepted on 19 Jun 2017 and first published on 20 Jun 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01060E
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017,13, 5008-5020
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    The sandpile revisited: computer assisted determination of constitutive relations and the breaking of scaling

    H. G. E. Hentschel, P. K. Jaiswal, C. Mondal, I. Procaccia and J. Zylberg, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 5008
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01060E

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