This project was initiated by G. D’Anna, in collaboration with G. Gremaud. We used the mechanical spectroscopy to study experimentally the mechanical behaviours of granular materials submitted to forced vibrations. At low amplitudes of the applied vibrations, we observed a jamming process in the granular materials, which follows strictly the same law (Vogel-Fulcher-Tammann (VFT) law) than that of the glass transition in solids (Nature, 413, 407-409, 2001 and PRL 87, 25, 254302, 2001 ). At higher amplitudes of the applied vibrations, we observed that the granular materials behaves very similarly than a gas (EPFL PhD thesis n. 3334, P. Mayor, 2005), and we proved experimentally that the fluctuation-dissipation theorem can be applied to such a dissipative system (Nature, 424, 909-912, 2003).
Presently, another PhD thesis work (Alessandro Sellerio) is ongoing under the supervision of G. Gremaud and D. Mari aiming at the investigation of the granular material in the region of the glass transtion. All glassy materials show an mechanical loss peak at the glass transition. We discovered that the same characteristics can be found in granular materials.
L. Sellerio, D. Mari, G. Gremaud and G. DíAnna, Glass transition associated with the jamming of vibrated granular matter, Phys. Rev. E, (2011) accepted
G. D’Anna, P. Mayor, An oscillator in the granular matter, in : Unifying concepts in granular media and glasses, eds A. Coniglio, A. Fierro, H.J. Herrmann, M. Nicodemi, Elsevier (2004)
P. Mayor, G. D’Anna, A. Barrat, V. Loreto, « Observing Brownian motion and measuring temperatures in vibration-fluidized granular matter », New Journal of Physics 7 (2005) 28, in « Focus on Brownian Motion and Diffusion in the 21st Century », in the frame of the Celebratory Focus Issues edited for the Year of Physics 2005.