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Stick Slip Motion in Grain Grain Friction in a Humid Atmosphere

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We set up an original apparatus to measure the grain grain friction stress inside a granular medium composed of sodo-silicate-glass beads surrounded by a water vapor atmosphere. We analyze here the influence of the physico chemistry of water on our glass beads and its consequences on our shear experiment. We found two scales in the analysis of the shear stress signal. On the microscopic scale of one bead, the experimental results show a dependence on the size of beads, on the shear rate and on humidity for the resulting stick slip signal. On the macroscopic scale of the whole assembly of beads, the behavior of the total amplitude of the shear stress depends on the size of the beads and is humidity dependent only for relative humidity larger than 80%. For high degrees of humidity, on the microscopic scale, water lubricates the surface of the beads leading to a decrease in the microscopic resistance to shear while on the macroscopic scale the resistance to shear is increased: the assembly of very humid grains behaves as a rheothickening fluid.

Affiliations: 1: L.P.M.C., UMR-CNRS 6622, Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, Parc Valrose, 06108 Nice cedex 2, France; 2: S.P.C.T.S., UMR-CNRS 6638, E.N.S.C.I., 47 avenue Albert Thomas, 87065 Limoges cedex, France; 3: S.P.C.T.S., UMR-CNRS 6638, E.N.S.C.I., 47 avenue Albert Thomas, 87065 Limoges cedex, France;, Email:


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