Correlations between electrical and mechanical signals during granular stick-slip events

Karen E. Daniels, Caroline Bauer, Troy Shinbrot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Powders and grains exhibit unpredictable jamming-to-flow transitions that manifest themselves on geophysical scales in catastrophic slip events such as landslides and earthquakes, and on laboratory/industrial scales in profound processing difficulties. Over the past few years, insight into these transitions has been provided by new evidence that slip events may be accompanied, or even preceded, by electrical effects. In the present work, we quantify the correlation between slip and the separation of electrical charges, using an archetypal granular material: photoelastic polymers. We measure a strong correlation between material displacement, acoustic emissions, and voltage. We find that the generation of voltage is associated with surface, rather than bulk properties of the granular materials. While voltage precursors are only occasionally observed in this system, there is some asymmetry in the cross-correlation between the slip and voltage signals that indicates differences between the pre- and post-slip dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


  • Electrical charging
  • Sheared granular materials
  • Stick-slip


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