Welcome to the internet hub of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC), a network of Centers located at academic institutions throughout the United States, funded by the National Science Foundation. This website provides organized connections to information and resources at the various MRSECs for the international scientific, industrial, and educational materials research and development communities.
Soil is a highly disordered granular material. Slow soil deformation (creep) controls the shape of hills in the natural landscape, and is a precursor of catastrophic landsliding. Our work demonstrates a surprising observation: an apparently static sandpile, sitting on a table, is actually alive with motion. We study a 3D granular heap, confined by walls and prepared by pouring. Via Diffusive Wave Spectroscopy (DWS), we observe the existence of spatially-heterogeneous micro-deformations that decay in size and frequency as time progresses but persist up to 11 days after the preparation of the system; the heap relaxes. We find that this relaxation can be enhanced (overaged) or reversed (rejuvenated) by tuning the types of disturbances applied to system.