Macroscopic Continuous Approach  versus Discrete Approach, Fluctuations, criticality and SOC.  A state of the question based on articles in Powders & Grains 2001


P. Evesque: Lab MSSM, UMR 8579 CNRS, Ecole Centrale Paris, 92295 Châtenay-Malabry, France,


Abstract: The macroscopic continuous approach of the mechanics of granular media assumes that the whole system of discrete variables (contact locations, contact forces,…) can be replaced by continuous field equations relating stress s and strain e on macroscopic scale. On the contrary, recent approaches contest this validity on the basis that microscopic studies show the existence of large fluctuations of forces, of chains of forces…  This paper tries and establishes the state of this question using recent works reported at Powders & Grains 2001 which have studied the microscopic variables, their fluctuations and their evolution. This paper shows that these results validate the macroscopic approach despite the existence of these fluctuations. It concludes that the representative elementary volume is of few grains most of the time, except in some peculiar cases .

Pacs # : 5.40 ; 45.70 ; 62.20 ; 83.70.Fn


poudres & grains 12 (8), 122-150 ( Novembre 2001)