Directed force chain networks and stress response in static granular materials
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A theory of stress fields in two-dimensional granular materials based on directed force chain networks is presented. A general Boltzmann equation for the densities of force chains in different directions is proposed and a complete solution is obtained for a special case in which chains lie along a discrete set of directions. The analysis and results demonstrate the necessity of including nonlinear terms in the Boltzmann equation. A line of nontrivial fixed-point solutions is shown to govern the properties of large systems. In the vicinity of a generic fixed point, the response to a localized load shows a crossover from a single, centered peak at intermediate depths to two propagating peaks at large depths that broaden diffusively.
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