© 2002 American Physical Society Published in Physical Review E, Vol. 66, No. 061303


Simulated granular packings with different particle friction coefficient μ are examined. The distribution of the particle-particle and particle-wall normal and tangential contact forces P(f) are computed and compared with existing experimental data. Here f≡F/F̅ is the contact force F normalized by the average value F̅ . P(f) exhibits exponential-like decay at large forces, a plateau/peak near f=1, with additional features at forces smaller than the average that depend on μ. Additional information beyond the one-point force distribution functions is provided in the form of the force-force spatial distribution function and the contact point radial distribution function. These quantities indicate that correlations between forces are only weakly dependent on friction and decay rapidly beyond approximately three particle diameters. Distributions of particle-particle contact angles show that the contact network is not isotropic and only weakly dependent on friction. High force-bearing structures, or force chains, do not play a dominant role in these three-dimensional, unloaded packings.