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Measurements of the Yield Stress in Frictionless Granular Systems

  • Xu, Ning
  • O'Hern, Corey S.
Published Article
Publication Date
Dec 29, 2005
Submission Date
Dec 29, 2005
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.73.061303
arXiv ID: cond-mat/0512707
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We perform extensive molecular dynamics simulations of 2D frictionless granular materials to determine whether these systems can be characterized by a single static yield shear stress. We consider boundary-driven planar shear at constant volume and either constant shear force or constant shear velocity. Under steady flow conditions, these two ensembles give similar results for the average shear stress versus shear velocity. However, near jamming it is possible that the shear stress required to initiate shear flow can differ substantially from the shear stress required to maintain flow. We perform several measurements of the shear stress near the initiation and cessation of flow. At fixed shear velocity, we measure the average shear stress $\Sigma_{yv}$ in the limit of zero shear velocity. At fixed shear force, we measure the minimum shear stress $\Sigma_{yf}$ required to maintain steady flow at long times. We find that in finite-size systems $\Sigma_{yf} > \Sigma_{yv}$, which implies that there is a jump discontinuity in the shear velocity from zero to a finite value when these systems begin flowing at constant shear force. However, our simulations show that the difference $\Sigma_{yf} - \Sigma_{yv}$, and thus the discontinuity in the shear velocity, tend to zero in the infinite system size limit. Thus, our results indicate that in the large system limit, frictionless granular systems are characterized by a single static yield shear stress. We also monitor the short-time response of these systems to applied shear and show that the packing fraction of the system and shape of the velocity profile can strongly influence whether or not the shear stress at short times overshoots the long-time average value.

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