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Published July 2005 | Published
Journal Article Open

Strongly nonlinear waves in a chain of Teflon beads


One-dimensional "sonic vacuum" type phononic crystals were assembled from a chain of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE,Teflon) spheres with different diameters in a Teflon holder. It was demonstrated that this polymer-based sonic vacuum, with exceptionally low elastic modulus of particles, supports propagation of strongly nonlinear solitary waves with a very low speed. These solitary waves can be described using the classical nonlinear Hertz law despite the viscoelastic nature of the polymer and high strain rate deformation of the contact area. The experimentally measured speeds of solitary waves at high amplitudes are close to the theoretically estimated values with a Young's modulus of 1.46 GPa obtained from shock wave experiments. This is significantly higher than the Young's modulus of PTFE from ultrasonic measurements. Trains of strongly nonlinear solitary waves excited by an impact were investigated experimentally and were found to be in reasonable agreement with numerical calculations based on Hertz interaction law though exhibiting a significant dissipation.

Additional Information

© 2005 American Physical Society. (Received 11 March 2005; published 6 July 2005) This work was supported by NSF (Grant No. DCMS03013220).

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