How granular vortices can help understanding rheological and mixing properties of dense granular flows
1 Particles and Grains Laboratory, School of Civil Engineering,The University of Sydney, Sydney, New SouthWales 2006, Australia.
2 Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Published online: 30 June 2017
Dense granular flows exhibit fascinating kinematic patterns characterised by strong fluctuations in grain velocities. In this paper, we analyse these fluctuations and discuss their possible role on macroscopic properties such as effective viscosity, non-locality and shear-induced diffusion. The analysis is based on 2D experimental granular flows performed with the stadium shear device and DEM simulations. We first show that, when subjected to shear, grains self-organised into clusters rotating like rigid bodies. The average size of these so-called granular vortices is found to increase and diverge for lower inertial numbers, when flows decelerate and stop. We then discuss how such a microstructural entity and its associated internal length scale, possibly much larger than a grain, may be used to explain two important properties of dense granular flows: (i) the existence of shear-induced diffusion of grains characterised by a shear-rate independent diffusivity and (ii) the development of boundary layers near walls, where the viscosity is seemingly lower than the viscosity far from walls.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
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