Granular Materials

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More than 50% of material processed in industry is in granular form. Understanding the behavior of granular material impacts several disciplines such as those in terramechanics, additive manufacturing, nanoparticle self-assembly, composite materials, cratering, food processing, mining, farming, and many more. We use physical setups, models, and simulations to understand interesting and complex properties, such as glass-like dynamics, particularly those influenced by topology, consolidation, and saturation. Our research in granular material is a segue to bio-inspired robotics and off-road mobility by informing soft soil and resistive contact models. We use both compliant and rigid contact models in the discrete element method. Furthermore, we heavily rely on high performance computing for characterization of million body dynamics.

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We have also been studying ordered granular material, particularly from the aspect of non-linear and surface wave propagation and band gaps.