These lectures illustrate laboratory experiments investigating a spring-slider system shearing a granular bed. When the shear rate is low enough, the dynamics is intermittent, displaying a chaotic stick-slip motion which can only be described statistically. This is an instance, among many others, of systems exhibiting intermittent and erratic activity, in the form of avalanches characterized by self-similar fluctuations of physical quantities in a wide range of values. In analogy with equilibrium systems, it is thought that such properties originate from the vicinity of some critical transition, and therefore that systems microscopically very different could display similar and universal statistical properties. Investigation of such systems is thence not only interesting in itself, but can be of help in understanding the dynamics of a wider class of phenomena and in devising effective models.
IOS Press, Inc.
6751 Tepper Drive
Clifton, VA 20124
Tel.: +1 703 830 6300
Fax: +1 703 830 2300 email@example.com
(Corporate matters and books only) IOS Press c/o Accucoms US, Inc.
For North America Sales and Customer Service
West Point Commons
Lansdale PA 19446
Tel.: +1 866 855 8967
Fax: +1 215 660 5042 firstname.lastname@example.org