Fragility and hysteretic creep in frictional granular jamming


The granular jamming transition is experimentally investigated in a two-dimensional system of frictional, bidispersed disks subject to quasistatic, uniaxial compression without vibrational disturbances (zero granular temperature). Three primary results are presented in this experimental study. First, using disks with different static friction coefficients (μ), we experimentally verify numerical results that predict jamming onset at progressively lower packing fractions with increasing friction. Second, we show that the first compression cycle measurably differs from subsequent cycles. The first cycle is fragile—a metastable configuration with simultaneous jammed and unjammed clusters—over a small packing fraction interval (ϕ1textlessϕtextlessϕ2) and exhibits simultaneous exponential rise in pressure and exponential decrease in disk displacements over the same packing fraction interval. This fragile behavior is explained through a percolation mechanism of stressed contacts where cluster growth exhibits spatial correlation with disk displacements and contributes to recent results emphasizing fragility in frictional jamming. Control experiments show that the fragile state results from the experimental incompatibility between the requirements for zero friction and zero granular temperature. Measurements with several disk materials of varying elastic moduli E and friction coefficients μ show that friction directly controls the start of the fragile state but indirectly controls the exponential pressure rise. Finally, under repetitive loading (compression) and unloading (decompression), we find the system exhibits pressure hysteresis, and the critical packing fraction ϕc increases slowly with repetition number. This friction-induced hysteretic creep is interpreted as the granular pack’s evolution from a metastable to an eventual structurally stable configuration. It is shown to depend on the quasistatic step size Δϕ, which provides the only perturbative mechanism in the experimental protocol, and the friction coefficient μ, which acts to stabilize the pack.

Phys. Rev. E