Study of the shear-rate dependence of granular friction based on community detection
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In this study, computer simulations are performed on three-dimensional granular systems under shear conditions. The system comprises granular particles that are confined between two rigid plates. The top plate is subjected to a normal force and driven by a shearing velocity. A positive shear-rate dependence of granular friction, known as velocity-strengthening, exists between the granular and shearing plate. To understand the origin of the dependence of frictional sliding, we treat the granular system as a complex network, where granular particles are nodes and normal contact forces are weighted edges used to obtain insight into the interiors of granular matter. Community structures within granular property networks are detected under different shearing velocities in the steady state. Community parameters, such as the size of the largest cluster and average size of clusters, show significant monotonous trends in shearing velocity associated with the shear-rate dependence of granular friction. Then, we apply an instantaneous change in shearing velocity. A dramatic increase in friction is observed with a change in shearing velocity in the non-steady state. The community structures in the non-steady state are different from those in the steady state. Results indicate that the largest cluster is a key factor affecting the friction between the granular and shearing plate.