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Review Of Scientific Instruments


We describe a two-dimensional biaxial apparatus that is used to conduct the experimental study of the jamming of granular media. The setup is designed based on the photoelastic imaging technique, which allows us to detect force-bearing contacts among particles, calculate the pressure on each particle according to the mean squared intensity gradient method, and compute contact forces on each particle [T. S. Majmudar and R. P. Behringer, Nature 435, 1079–1082 (2005)]. Particles float in a density-matched solution to avoid basal friction during experiments. We can compress (uniaxially or biaxially) or shear the granular system by an entangled comb geometry by moving the paired boundary walls independently. A novel design for the corner of each pair of perpendicular walls is described, which allows for independent motion. We control the system using a Raspberry Pi with Python code. Three typical experiments are described briefly. Furthermore, more complicated experiment protocols can be implemented to achieve specific granular materials research goals.


Phase transitions, Continuum mechanics, Strain measurement, Programming languages, Stepper motors, Granular materials, Materials analysis


This work is freely available courtesy of the American Institute of Physics.

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