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Ergodic-nonergodic transition in tapped granular systems: The role of persistent contacts

Paula A. Gago, Diego Maza, Luis A. Pugnaloni


Static granular packs have been studied in the last three decades in the frame of a modified equilibrium statistical mechanics that assumes ergodicity as a basic postulate. The canonical example on which this framework is tested consists in the series of static configurations visited by a granular column subjected to taps. By analyzing the response of a realistic model of grains, we demonstrate that volume and stress variables visit different regions of the phase space at low tap intensities in different realizations of the experiment. We show that the tap intensity beyond which sampling by tapping becomes ergodic coincides with the forcing necessary to break all particle-particle contacts during each tap. These results imply that the well-known "reversible" branch of tapped granular columns is only valid at relatively high tap intensities.

Received: 2 November 2015,  Accepted: 22 December 2015; Edited by: C. S. O'Hern; Reviewed by: A. Baule, Queen Mary University of London, UK.; DOI:

Cite as: P A Gago, D. Maza, L A Pugnaloni, Papers in Physics 8, 080001 (2016)

This paper, by P A Gago, D. Maza, L A Pugnaloni, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.


Ergodicity breaking; Tapped Granular Packs


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Papers in Physics. All content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence.