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The unusual problem of upscaling isostaticity theory for granular matter

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Isostaticity theory (IT) provides stress field equations for marginally rigid packs of non-cohesive particles, interacting through hard-core forces. Its main advantage over strain-based theories is by closing the stress equations with stress-structure, rather than stress-strain, relations, which enables modelling the stress chains, often observed in experiments and simulations. The usefulness of IT has been argued to extend beyond its applicability at marginal rigidity. It has been shown to be derivable from first principles in two-dimensions, with the structure quantified by a fabric tensor that couples to the stress field. However, upscaling IT to the continuum is done currently empirically by postulating convenient closure equations. The problem is that a volume average of the fabric tensor vanishes in the continuum limit, trivialising the closure equation. This poses an unusual upscaling problem, necessitating a new approach. Such an approach is developed here, resolving the problem for planar granular assemblies. The new method is developed initially for idealised 'unfrustrated' packs by coarse-graining first to the two-grain scale, after which a conventional coarse-graining can be used. It is then extended to general realistic systems, by introducing an intermediate `de-frustration' procedure. The applicability of the method is illustrated with a tractable example.



Stress theory, Granular matter, Upscaling, Stress-structure relations, De-frustration transformation

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Granular Matter

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


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