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Phys Rev Lett. 2009 Apr 3;102(13):138302. Epub 2009 Apr 3.

Granular character of particle rafts.

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Cavendish Laboratory and Nanoscience Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0HE, United Kingdom.


We consider a monolayer of particles floating at a horizontal liquid-gas interface-a particle raft. Upon compressing the monolayer in a Langmuir trough, the particles at first pack but ultimately the monolayer buckles out of the plane. We measure the stress profile within the raft at the onset of buckling and show for the first time that such systems exhibit a Janssen effect: the stress decays exponentially away from the compressing barriers over a length scale that depends on the width of the trough. We find quantitative agreement between the rate of decay and the simple theory presented by Janssen and others. This demonstrates that particle rafts have a granular, as well as elastic, character, which is neglected by current models. Finally, we suggest that our experimental setup may be suitable for exploring granular effects in two dimensions without the complications of gravity and basal friction.

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