Published in Granular Matter, Vol. 12 No. 1 (February 2010) at 10.1007/s10035-009-0156-0.

The original publication is available at


The effect of structural disorder on the stress response inside three dimensional particle assemblies is studied using computer simulations of frictionless sphere packings. Upon applying a localised, perturbative force within the packings, the resulting Green's function response is mapped inside the different assemblies, thus providing an explicit view as to how the imposed perturbation is transmitted through the packing. In weakly disordered arrays, the resulting transmission of forces is of the double-peak variety, but with peak widths scaling linearly with distance from the source of the perturbation. This behaviour is consistent with an anisotropic elasticity response profile. Increasing the disorder distorts the response function until a single-peak response is obtained for fully disordered packings consistent with an isotropic description.