Rice-quakes in brittle porous materials

Most of us have tried this at home: smash cereal with a spoon. Yet, the science of snap, crackle and pop extends way beyond a cereal ad. Indeed, using such a simple experiment we reveal surprisingly rich compaction patterns due to competing processes of internal collapse and recovery. Using a simple spring-lattice model that captures these two processes, we successfully explain previously observed patterns in cereal, snow and sandstones. Subsequently, we use the model to guide us in the discovery of novel patterns, which we confirm experimentally in cereal. A further set of experiments with cereal partially soaked by fluid (milk/water) under constant pressure reveals coherent rice-quakes that could be explained by coupled fluid diffusion and the chemical degradation of the solid matrix; similar conditions often prevail in rockfill dams, which frequently fail unexpectedly.  Our work reveals bifurcation in solids reminiscent of critical phenomena near phase transitions, and thus will be of relevance for people interested in soft matter physics, complex systems, and non-equilibrium thermodynamics

תאריך 1/01/2017 10:30 12:00
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