Unjamming strongly compressed rafts: Effects of the compression direction

Gregor Plohl, Mathieu Jannet, Carole Planchette*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We experimentally study the unjamming dynamics of strongly compressed particle rafts confined between two fixed walls and two movable barriers. The back barrier is made of an elastic band, whose deflection indicates the local stress. The front barrier is pierced by a gate, whose opening triggers local unjamming. Prior to gate opening, the rafts are quasistatically compressed by moving only one of the two barriers, in the vicinity of which folds form. Using high-speed imaging, we follow the raft relaxation with folded, jammed, and unjammed areas and measure the velocity fields inside and outside the confined domain. Two very different behaviors develop. For rafts compressed by the back barrier, only partial unjamming occurs. At the end of the process, many folds remain and the back stress does not relax. The flow develops mostly along the compression axis and the particles passing the gate form a dense raft whose width is the gate width. For rafts compressed at the front, quasitotal unjamming is observed. Almost no folds persist and only minimal stress remains, if any. The particles flow along the compression axis but also normally to it and form a rather circular and not dense assembly. Both the force chain network orientation and the initial fold location could cause the unjamming difference. Other effects, such as a different pressure field or simple steric hindrance, cannot be excluded.
Original languageEnglish
Article number034903
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability

Fields of Expertise

  • Mobility & Production


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