Effects of electromagnetic waves on the

electrical properties of contacts between grains

S. Dorbolo1, A. Merlen2, M. Creyssels2, N. Vandewalle1, B. Castaing2 and E. Falcon3

  1 GRASP, Physics Department, Université de Liège, B-4000 Liège, Belgium
2 Laboratoire de Physique, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, CNRS, 69 007 Lyon, France
3 MSC, Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7, CNRS, 75 013 Paris, France


EPL 79, 54001 (2007)


A DC electrical current is injected through a chain of metallic beads. The electrical resistance of each bead-bead contacts is measured. At low current, the distribution of these resistances is large and log-normal. At high enough current, the resistance distribution becomes sharp and Gaussian due to the creation of microweldings between some beads. The action of nearby electromagnetic waves (sparks) on the electrical conductivity of the chain is also studied. The spark effect is to lower the resistance values of the more resistive contacts, the best conductive ones remaining unaffected by the spark production. The spark is able to induce through the chain a current enough to create microweldings between some beads. This explains why the electrical resistance of a granular medium is so sensitive to the electromagnetic waves produced in its vicinity.

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