The equations of motion for dilatant granular material are obtained from a Hamiltonian variational principle of local type in the conservative case. The propagation of nonlinear waves in a region with uniform state is studied by means of an asymptotic approach that has already appeared useful in an investigation on wave propagation in bubbly liquids and in fluid mixtures. When the grains are assumed to be incompressible, it is shown that the material behaves as a continuum with latent microstructure.
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