Analytical and Computational Modeling of Mechanical Waves in Microscale Granular Crystals: Nonlinearity and Rotational Dynamics
Wallen, Samuel Patrick
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Granular media are one of the most common, yet least understood forms of matter on earth. The difficulties in understanding the physics of granular media stem from the fact that they are typically heterogeneous and highly disordered, and the grains interact via nonlinear contact forces. Historically, one approach to reducing these complexities and gaining new insight has been the study of granular crystals, which are ordered arrays of similarly-shaped particles (typically spheres) in Hertzian contact. Using this setting, past works explored the rich nonlinear dynamics stemming from contact forces, and proposed avenues where such granular crystals could form designer, dynamically responsive materials, which yield beneficial functionality in dynamic regimes. In recent years, the combination of self-assembly fabrication methods and laser ultrasonic experimental characterization have enabled the study of granular crystals at microscale. While our intuition may suggest that these microscale granular crystals are simply scaled-down versions of their macroscale counterparts, in fact, the relevant physics change drastically; for example, short-range adhesive forces between particles, which are negligible at macroscale, are several orders of magnitude stronger than gravity at microscale. In this thesis, we present recent advances in analytical and computational modeling of microscale granular crystals, in particular concerning the interplay of nonlinearity, shear interactions, and particle rotations, which have previously been either absent, or included separately at macroscale. Drawing inspiration from past works on phononic crystals and nonlinear lattices, we explore problems involving locally-resonant metamaterials, nonlinear localized modes, amplitude-dependent energy partition, and other rich dynamical phenomena. This work enhances our understanding of microscale granular media, which may find applicability in fields such as ultrasonic wave tailoring, signal processing, shock and vibration mitigation, and powder processing.
- Mechanical engineering