Statistical mechanics framework for static granular matter

Silke Henkes, Bulbul Chakraborty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


The physical properties of granular materials have been extensively studied in recent years. So far, however, there exists no theoretical framework which can explain the observations in a unified manner beyond the phenomenological jamming diagram. This work focuses on the case of static granular matter, where we have constructed a statistical ensemble which mirrors equilibrium statistical mechanics. This ensemble, which is based on the conservation properties of the stress tensor, is distinct from the original Edwards ensemble and applies to packings of deformable grains. We combine it with a field theoretical analysis of the packings, where the field is the Airy stress function derived from the force and torque balance conditions. In this framework, Point J characterized by a diverging stiffness of the pressure fluctuations. Separately, we present a phenomenological mean-field theory of the jamming transition, which incorporates the mean contact number as a variable. We link both approaches in the context of the marginal rigidity picture proposed by Wyart and others.

Original languageEnglish
Article number061301
Number of pages20
JournalPhysical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Statistical mechanics framework for static granular matter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this