Force Network Contact Analysis

Are all contacts in a granular material created equal? We examine how contacts between particles in granular materials are made and broken by measuring how the force networks in a packing respond to changes in density. We examine the theoretically allowed space of force networks by calculating them as the force network ensemble, and by measuring the size of this space we have successfully characterized the entropy contribution of the force networks. More recently, our focus has been on using the force network ensemble to identify special contacts that are more likely to break under decompression than others.