Elastic properties of a granular packing show a nonlinear behavior determined by its discrete structure and nonlinear inter-grain force laws. Acoustic waves show a transition from constant, pressure-dependent sound speed to a shock-wave-like behavior with an amplitude-determined propagation speed. This becomes increasingly visible at low static confinement pressure as the transient regime shifts to lower wave amplitudes for lower static pressure. In microgravity, confinement pressure can be orders of magnitude lower than in a ground-based experiment. In addition, the absence of hydrostatic gradients allows for much more homogeneous and isotropic pressure distribution. We present a novel apparatus for acoustic wave transmission measurements at such low packing pressures. A pressure control loop is implemented by using a microcontroller that monitors static force sensor readings and adjusts the position of a movable wall with a linear-motor until the desired pressure is reached. Measurements of acoustic waves are possible using accelerometers embedded in the granular packing as well as piezos. For excitation, we use a voice-coil-driven wall, with a large variety of signal shapes, frequencies, and amplitudes. This enables experiments in both the linear and strongly nonlinear regimes.
Acoustic waves in granular packings at low confinement pressure
Note: This paper is part of the Special Collection: Materials and Life Science Experiments for the Sounding Rocket MAPHEUS.
Karsten Tell, Christoph Dreißigacker, Alberto Chiengue Tchapnda, Peidong Yu, Matthias Sperl; Acoustic waves in granular packings at low confinement pressure. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 1 March 2020; 91 (3): 033906. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5122848
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