We evidence critical fluctuations in the strain rate of granular flows that are weakly vibrated. Strikingly, the critical point arises at finite values of the mean strain rate and vibration strength, far from the yielding critical point at a zero flow rate. We show that the global rheology, as well as the amplitude and correlation time of the fluctuations, are consistent with a mean-field, Landau-like description, where the strain rate and the stress act as conjugated variables. We introduce a general model which captures the observed phenomenology and argue that this type of critical behavior generically arises when self-fluidization competes with friction.

Phys. Rev. Lett.
Mechanical Metamaterials

Wortel, G., Dauchot, O., & van Hecke, M. (2016). Criticality in Vibrated Frictional Flows at a Finite Strain Rate. Phys.Rev.Lett., 117(19, Article number: 198002), 1–5. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.198002