On the Inelastic Collapse of a Ball Bouncing on a Randomly Vibrating Platform

Satya N. Majumdar 1, Michael J. Kearney 2

Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 76 (2007) 031130

We study analytically the dynamics of a ball bouncing inelastically on a randomly vibrating platform, as a simple toy model of inelastic collapse. Of principal interest are the distributions of the number of flights n_f till the collapse and the total time \tau_c elapsed before the collapse. In the strictly elastic case, both distributions have power law tails characterised by exponents which are universal, i.e., independent of the details of the platform noise distribution. In the inelastic case, both distributions have exponential tails: P(n_f) ~ exp[-\theta_1 n_f] and P(\tau_c) ~ exp[-\theta_2 \tau_c]. The decay exponents \theta_1 and \theta_2 depend continuously on the coefficient of restitution and are nonuniversal; however as one approches the elastic limit, they vanish in a universal manner that we compute exactly. An explicit expression for \theta_1 is provided for a particular case of the platform noise distribution.

  • 1. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud
  • 2. School of Electronics and Physical Sciences,
    University of Surrey