Granular Matter

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 1–6 | Cite as

Using MR elastography to image the 3D force chain structure of a quasi-static granular assembly

  • Lori SanfratelloEmail author
  • Eiichi Fukushima
  • Robert P. Behringer


We have developed a magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) technique to experimentally investigate the force chain structure within a densely packed 3D granular assembly. MRE is an MRI technique whereby small periodic displacements within an elastic material are measured. We verified our MRE technique using a gel phantom and then extended the method to image the force carrying chain structure within a 3D granular assembly of particles under an initial pre-stressed condition, on top of which is superimposed a small-amplitude vibration. We find that significant coherent displacements form along force chains, where spin phase accumulates preferentially, allowing visualization. This work represents the first time that the internal force chain structure of a dry assembly of granular solids has been fully acquired in three dimensions.


Force chains MR elastography MRI Granular 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lori Sanfratello
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eiichi Fukushima
    • 2
  • Robert P. Behringer
    • 3
  1. 1.New Mexico ResonanceAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.ABQMRAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of PhysicsDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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