Letter | Published:

Propagating compaction bands in confined compression of snow

Nature Physics volume 13, pages 272275 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Some materials are strong in response to a slowly applied deformation, yet weak when subject to rapid deformations—a materials property known as strain-rate softening1. Snow exhibits such behaviour: it is comparatively strong at low deformation rates, where it is quasi-plastic, but weak at high rates, where it deforms in a quasi-brittle manner2. During deformation, strain-rate-softening materials ranging from metals3,4 to micellar systems5 exhibit complex spatio-temporal deformation patterns, including regular or chaotic deformation-rate oscillations and travelling deformation waves6. Here we report a systematic investigation of such phenomena in snow and show that snow can deform with the formation and propagation of localized deformation bands accompanied by oscillations of the driving force. We propose a model that accounts for these observations. Our findings demonstrate that in snow, strain localization can occur even in initially homogeneous samples deforming under homogeneous loads.

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Acknowledgements

T.W.B. acknowledges financial support by EPSRC - DTP. S.L., S.S., G.W. and M.Z. acknowledge computational support by ZISC.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. School of Engineering, Institute for Materials and Processes, University of Edinburgh, The King’s Buildings, Sanderson Building, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK

    • Thomas W. Barraclough
    • , Jane R. Blackford
    • , Stefan Liebenstein
    • , Tim J. Stratford
    •  & Michael Zaiser
  2. Department of Materials Science, WW8-Materials Simulation, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlanger-Nürnberg, Dr.-Mack-Strasse 77, 90762 Fürth, Germany

    • Stefan Liebenstein
    • , Stefan Sandfeld
    • , Gerhard Weinländer
    •  & Michael Zaiser

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Contributions

T.W.B., T.J.S. and J.R.B. designed the apparatus and DIC imaging system, T.W.B. carried out the experiments, S.S. and S.L. analysed the DIC data, G.W., S.S. and S.L. wrote the simulation code and performed simulations, M.Z. formulated and parametrized the model, performed simulations and wrote the manuscript. All authors were involved in editing the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael Zaiser.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3966

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