Granular Matter

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 217–222 | Cite as

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

  • Karen E. DanielsEmail author
  • Caroline Bauer
  • Troy Shinbrot
Original Paper


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.


Sheared granular materials Stick-slip Electrical charging 



The authors thank Theo Siu for his invaluable assistance, and are grateful to the National Science Foundation (Grant DMR-1206808), the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, and the DAAD-RISE program for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen E. Daniels
    • 1
    Email author
  • Caroline Bauer
    • 2
  • Troy Shinbrot
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Experimental PhysicsOtto-von-Guericke University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringRutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA

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