Thursday, July 11, 2013

1307.2742 (Alessandro Taloni et al.)

Role of elasticity in frictional slip precursors    [PDF]

Alessandro Taloni, Andrea Benassi, Stefano Zapperi
Recent experiments indicate that frictional sliding occurs by the nucleation of detachment fronts at the contact interface that may appear well before the onset of global sliding. This intriguing precursory activity is not accounted for by traditional friction theories but is extremely important for friction dominated geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, landslides or avalanches. Here we simulate the onset of slip of a three dimensional elastic body resting on a surface and show that experimentally observed frictional precursors depend in a complex non-universal way on the sample geometry and the loading conditions. Our model allows to assess which experimental features can be attributed to the elastic equilibrium, and which to the out-of-equilibrium dynamics, suggesting that precursory activity is an intrinsically quasi-static physical process. A direct calculation of the evolution of the Coulomb stress before and during precursors nucleation show large variations across the sample, which helps explain why earthquakes forecasting methods based on accumulated slip and Coulomb stress monitoring are often ineffective.
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