Elastic wave propagation in dry granular media: effects of probing characteristics and stress history

Hongyang Cheng*, Stefan Luding, Kuniyasu Saitoh, Vanessa Magnanimo

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)
    225 Downloads (Pure)


    Elastic wave propagation provides a noninvasive way to probe granular materials. The discrete element method using particle configuration as input, allows a micromechanical interpretation on the acoustic response of a given granular system. This paper compares static and dynamic numerical probing methods, from which wave velocities are either deduced from elastic moduli or extracted from the time/frequency-domain signals. The dependence of wave velocities on key characteristics, i.e., perturbation magnitude and direction for static probing, and maximum travel distance and inserted signals for dynamic probing, is investigated. It is found that processing the frequency-domain signals obtained from dynamic probing leads to reproducible wave velocities at all wavenumbers, irrespective of the perturbation characteristics, whereas the maximum travel distance and input signals for the time domain analysis have to be carefully chosen, so as to obtain the same long-wavelength limits as from the frequency domain. Static and dynamic probes are applied to calibrated representative volumes of glass beads, subjected to cyclic oedometric compression. Although the perturbation magnitudes are selected to reveal only the elastic moduli, the deduced wave velocities are consistently lower than the long-wavelength limits at various stress states, and thus sensitive to sample size. While the static probes investigate the influence of stress history on modulus degradation, dynamic probing offers insights about how dispersion relations evolve during cyclic compression. Interestingly, immediately after each load reversal the incremental behavior is reversibly elastoplastic, until it becomes truly elastic with further unload/reload. With repeating unload/reload, the P- or S-wave dispersion relations become increasingly scalable with respect to their long-wavelength limits.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)85-99
    JournalInternational journal of solids and structures
    Early online date8 May 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2020


    • DEM
    • Dispersion relation
    • Oedometric compression
    • Small-strain moduli
    • Wave propagation


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