G. James and D. Pelinovsky

Gaussian solitary waves and compactons in FPU lattices with Hertzian potentials

Proceedings of Royal Society A 470, 20130465 (2014) (20 pages)

We consider a class of fully-nonlinear Fermi-Pasta-Ulam (FPU) lattices, consisting of a chain of particles coupled by fractional power nonlinearities of order a > 1. This class of systems incorporates a classical Hertzian model describing acoustic wave propagation in chains of touching beads in the absence of precompression. We analyze the propagation of localized waves when a is close to unity. Solutions varying slowly in space and time are searched with an appropriate scaling, and two asymptotic models of the chain of particles are derived consistently. The first one is a logarithmic KdV equation, and possesses linearly orbitally stable Gaussian solitary wave solutions. The second model consists of a generalized KdV equation with Holder-continuous fractional power nonlinearity and admits compacton solutions, i.e. solitary waves with compact support. When a approaches 1, we numerically establish the asymptotically Gaussian shape of exact FPU solitary waves with near-sonic speed, and analytically check the pointwise convergence of compactons towards the limiting Gaussian profile.

Discrete FPU lattice, granular crystals, log-KdV equation, Gaussian solitary waves, linear stability.