Competition between geometrically induced and density-driven segregation mechanisms in vibrofluidized granular systems

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The behaviors of granular systems are sensitive to a wide variety of particle properties, including size, density, elasticity, and shape. Differences in any of these properties between particles in a granular mixture may lead to segregation, or "demixing," a process of great industrial relevance. Despite the known influence of particle geometry in granular systems, a considerable fraction of research into these systems concerns only uniformly spherical particles. We address, for the case of vertically vibrated granular systems, the important question of whether the introduction of differing particle geometries entirely invalidates our existing knowledge based on purely spherical granulates, or whether current models may simply be adapted to account for the effects of particle shape. We demonstrate that while shape effects can indeed influence the dynamical and segregative behaviors of a granular system, the segregative mechanisms associated with particle geometry are decidedly secondary to those related to particle density. The relevant control parameters determining the extent of geometrically induced segregation are established. Finally, a manner in which shape effects may be accounted for in simulations utilizing purely spherical particles is proposed.


Original languageEnglish
Article number032205
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2015