Acoustic probing of elastic behavior and damage in weakly cemented granular media

Abstract : We investigate the elastic behavior and damage of weakly cemented granular media under external load with ultrasound. The cementation controlled experiments are performed by freezing the capillary liquid at the bead contact in a dense glass or polymeric [poly(methyl methacrylate)] bead pack wet by tetradecane of volume fraction φ = 0.1%–4%. When the pendular rings are solidified, an abrupt increase by a factor of 2 in the compressional wave velocity is observed. We interpret the data in terms of effective medium models in which the contact stiffnesses are derived by either a bonded contact model [P. J. Digby, J. Appl. Mech. 48, 803 (1981)] or a cemented contact model [J. Dvorkin, A. Nur, and H. Yin, Mech. Mater. 18, 351 (1994)]. The former fails to quantitatively account for the results with a soft cement relative to the grain, whereas the latter considering the mechanical properties of the cement does apply. Moreover, we monitor the irreversible behavior of the cemented granular packs under moderate uniaxial loading (<1.3 MPa) with the correlation method of ultrasound scattering. The damage of the cemented materials is accompanied by a compressional wave velocity decrease up to 60%, likely due to the fractures induced at the grain-cement interfaces.
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Vincent Langlois, X Jia. Acoustic probing of elastic behavior and damage in weakly cemented granular media. Physical Review E : Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, American Physical Society, 2014, http://journals.aps.org/pre/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevE.89.023206. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.89.023206⟩. ⟨hal-01158624⟩

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