Friction weakening by mechanical vibrations: A velocity-controlled process

V. Vidal, C. Oliver, H. Lastakowski, G. Varas, J. C. Géminard

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7 Scopus citations


Abstract.: Frictional weakening by vibrations was first invoked in the 70s to explain unusual fault slips and earthquakes, low viscosity during the collapse of impact craters or the extraordinary mobility of sturzstroms, peculiar rock avalanches which travels large horizontal distances. This mechanism was further invoked to explain the remote triggering of earthquakes or the abnormally large runout of landslides or pyroclastic flows. Recent experimental and theoretical works pointed out that the key parameter which governs frictional weakening in sheared granular media is the characteristic velocity of the vibrations. Here we show that the mobility of the grains is not mandatory and that the vibration velocity governs the weakening of both granular and solid friction. The critical velocity leading to the transition from stick-slip motion to continuous sliding is in both cases of the same order of magnitude, namely a hundred microns per second. It is linked to the roughness of the surfaces in contact. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number91
JournalEuropean Physical Journal E
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019


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