We provide a quantitative characterization of dissipative effects in one-dimensional granular crystals. We use the propagation of highly nonlinear solitary waves as a diagnostic tool and develop optimization schemes that allow one to compute the relevant exponents and prefactors of the dissipative terms in the equations of motion. We thereby propose a quantitatively accurate extension of the Hertzian model that encompasses dissipative effects via a discrete Laplacian of the velocities. Experiments and computations with steel, brass, and polytetrafluoroethylene reveal a common dissipation exponent with a material-dependent prefactor.
PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS