Micro-scale study of rupture in desiccating granular media

TitleMicro-scale study of rupture in desiccating granular media
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsT Hueckel, B Mielniczuk, and MSE Youssoufi
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Issue231 GSP
Start Page808
Pagination808 - 817
Date Published01/2013

Capillary bridges between two, three, and multiple fixed glass spheres are examined experimentally during their natural evaporation. The key variables of the process of evolution are measured using a calibrated balance recording and digital image processing with still and high-speed cameras. The calculations of Laplace pressure, as well as suction and surface tension resultant components of the interparticle force are made for two-grain systems. Evolution, properties and failure of evaporating liquid bridge are controlled and induced by decreasing liquid volume. For the two grain configuration, tests show a gradual decrease of suction down to zero and into a positive pressure range before a two step failure occurs, including a formation of a water wire according to a Rayleigh instability pattern followed by a simultaneous rupture at two points of the lowest (negative) total (Gauss) curvature of the bridge surface. For more complex systems, a thin-film pinching instability is shown to result from two-dimensional cavitation of water, leading to a re-configuration of the water body into separate bridges between individual pairs of grains, which then rupture as described above. Water body instability generated dynamic penetration of air may also provide an imperfection for the granular system potentially leading to cracking. © 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Short TitleGeotechnical Special Publication