Powder keg divisions in the critical state regime: transition from continuous to explosive percolation
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne, 3010, Australia
* e-mail: email@example.com
Published online: 30 June 2017
The underlying microstructure and dynamics of a dense granular material as it evolves towards the “critical state”, a limit state in which the system deforms with an essentially constant volume and stress ratio, remains widely debated in the micromechanics of granular media community. Strain localization, a common mechanism in the large strain regime, further complicates the characterization of this limit state. Here we revisit the evolution to this limit state within the framework of modern percolation theory. Attention is paid to motion transfer: in this context, percolation translates to the emergence of a large-scale connectivity in graphs that embody information on individual grain displacements. We construct each graph G(r) by connecting nodes, representing the grains, within a distance r in the displacement-state-space. As r increases, we observe a percolation transition on G(r). The size of the jump discontinuity increases in the lead up to failure, indicating that the nature of percolation transition changes from continuous to explosive. We attribute this to the emergence of collective motion, which manifests in increasingly isolated communities in G(r). At the limit state, where the jump discontinuity is highest and invariant across the different unjamming cycles (drops in stress ratio), G(r) encapsulates multiple kinematically distinct communities that are mediated by nodes corresponding to those grains in the shear band. This finding casts light on the dual and opposing roles of the shear band: a mechanism that creates powder keg divisions in the sample, while simultaneously acting as a mechanical link that transfers motion through such subdivisions moving in relative rigid-body motion.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.