granular friction, coefficient of friction, force chains, reciprocating sliding


Granular friction behaviors are crucial for understanding the ubiquitous packing and flow phenomena in nature and industrial production. In this study, a customized experimental apparatus that can simultaneously measure the time history of normal and tangential forces on the inside-shearing unit is employed to investigate the granular friction behaviors during a linear reciprocating sliding process. It is observed that the evolution behaviors of two normal forces distributed separately on the shearing unit can qualitatively reflect the effects of the force chain network. During the half-loop of the reciprocating sliding, the total normal force, which indicates the load-bearing capacity of the granular system, experiences the following typical stages: decreases abruptly and stabilizes momentarily, further decreases significantly to the minimum, gradually increases to the maximum, and then remains stable. These stages are associated closely with the relaxation, collapse, reconstruction, and stabilization of the force chain, respectively. Interestingly, the coefficient of friction (COF) can reach a stable value rapidly within the initial sliding stage and subsequently remain constant. The average COF within stable ranges decreases significantly with the external load G in the power-function form, G-0.5. Meanwhile, the COF increases slightly with the sliding velocity. Finally, a complete illustration of the dependences of the granular COF on the external load and sliding velocity is provided. Our study contributes to granular friction research by providing an innovative experimental approach for directly measuring the COF and implicitly correlating the evolution of the force chain network.

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