Impulse dispersion in a tapered granular chain

Masami Nakagawa, Juan H. Agui, David T. Wu, David Vivanco Extramiana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a unique way to disperse an impulse in granular material. A number of chrome steel balls are arranged in a chain formation with monotonically decreasing size. The incoming impulse is received by the largest ball at one end and propagates through the chain. Due to translation symmetry breaking, the classical solitary wave known to develop in a chain of particles of the same size quickly lose its signature, disperses itself throughout the balls in the chain, and finally manifests itself as a collection of smaller impulses. This paper presents experimental confirmation of this mechanism and a comparison with recent theoretical predictions of impulse dispersion in a chain of hard inelastic spheres. Some discrepancies with theory are interpreted in terms of energy transfer to rotational degrees of freedom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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