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Published December 2014 | public
Journal Article

Exponential stress mitigation in structured granular composites


Granular media has been used throughout history as rudimentary yet effective impact mitigation. The unique response of natural granular media is associated with the existence of a network of stress propagation pathways, i.e. a force chain network, which spatially and temporally redirects and moderates the impulse. A variety of structured materials have been proposed to improve the impact mitigating properties compared to natural systems. However, these engineered materials use permanent deformation or viscoelastic properties to dissipate energy, generally limiting their lifetime or effective frequency and temperature range. Here, we take inspiration from natural granular media to engineer a structured composite that exhibits an exponentially fast decay of the leading transmitted pulses. The ordered network geometry allows for an analytical description of the transmitted pulses, which we validate though experiments and numerical simulations. In contrast to other structured materials used for impact mitigation, these networks exhibit reversible deformation, function over all frequencies, and possess a low relative density. Our results open new possibilities for the design and realization of increasingly complex material systems with engineered stress wave transmission pathways.

Additional Information

© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Received in revised form 4 December 2014; Accepted 5 December 2014; Available online 6 December 2014. This work was supported in part by the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship Program (DOE SCGF), made possible in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, administered by ORISE-ORAU under contract DE-AC05-06OR23100. We also acknowledge support from the MURI Grant No. US ARO W911NF-09-1-0436. L. Ponson acknowledges the support of the European Union through a Marie Curie Grant (CIG-294025 ToughBridge).

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