Fluctuating particle motion during shear induced granular compaction

Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Jul 4;91(1):014301. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.91.014301. Epub 2003 Jul 1.


Using a refractive index matching method, we investigate the trajectories of particles in three dimensional granular packing submitted to cyclic shear deformation. The particle motion observed during compaction is not diffusive but exhibits a transient cage effect, similar to the one observed in colloidal glasses. We precisely study the statistics of the step size between two successive cycles and observe that it is proportional to the shear amplitude. The link between the microscopic observations and the macroscopic evolution of the volume fraction during compaction is discussed.