Effect of relative humidity on the nonlinear elastic response of granular media

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Abstract

We study the influence of relative humidity (RH) on the nonlinear elastic response of granular media. Previous work has shown that the nonlinear elastic response of consolidated granular media like rocks likely arises from two distinct mechanisms; however, we do not have a clear understanding of their physical origins at the microscopic scale. Here, we conduct dynamic acousto-elastic testing (DAET) on samples of glass beads under dry (∼10%), ambient (∼60%), and humid (∼100%) conditions at room temperature and a constant static stress of 4 MPa. DAET allows us to retrieve the full nonlinear elastic response, including transient softening and hysteretic effects. We find that the elastic nonlinearity of humid samples is an order of magnitude larger than dry samples. Moreover, we find that all extracted nonlinear parameters increase with RH. This overall increase in nonlinearity is consistent with findings from previous studies and with the hypothesis that water adsorption on the grains makes the contact junctions weaker and prone to greater disturbances when subjected to dynamic stressing. Our results also suggest that, if indeed both mechanisms coexist, they are affected in a similar fashion in these glass bead samples and cannot be distinguished by varying RH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055101
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Volume131
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 7 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy

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