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J. Phys. A: Math. Gen. 32 (1999) L107L113. Printed in the UK PII: S0305-4470(99)97237-2 LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Summary: J. Phys. A: Math. Gen. 32 (1999) L107­L113. Printed in the UK PII: S0305-4470(99)97237-2
Replica theory of granular media
Jeferson J Arenzon
Instituto de F´isica, UFRGS, CP 15051, 91501-970, Porto Alegre RS, Brazil
Received 2 September 1998
Abstract. An infinite range spin-glass-like model for granular systems is introduced and studied
through the replica mean-field formalism. Equilibrium, density-dependent properties under
vibration and gravity are obtained that qualitatively resemble the results from real and numerical
Handling of granular material occurs in many agricultural and industrial processes and several
fundamental practical problems are still unsolved. The unusual static and flow properties [1,2]
offer a challenging problem from the theoretical point of view, and despite the huge effort
that has been devoted in recent years, are far from being fully understood. Since thermal
energy plays no role here, excitations can be achieved by externally shaking or shearing the
system, enabling them to wander through the many microscopic configurations available for a
fixed macroscopic density. Under vibration, a multitude of fascinating phenomena show up,
like heap formation, convection cells, size or shape segregation, surface waves, etc (see [1,2]
for a review and references). Slow relaxation under perturbations is also present, signalling
complex cooperative movement of the particles and resembling that found in systems with


Source: Arenzon, Jeferson J. - Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul


Collections: Physics