Cooling of 3D granular gases in microgravity experiments
1 Institute of Experimental Physics and MARS, Otto von Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany
2 current address: Physics of Fluids, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
Published online: 30 June 2017
Granular gases are a most peculiar state, superficially similar to molecular gases: They are loose ensembles of moving grains, rarely interacting with each other and with container walls. The most investigated scenario is the “granular cooling”, the collective loss of energy from an initially excited state. We present an experimental study of the cooling of a 3D granular gas of rodlike grains in micro-gravity. Driven steady states of non-spherical grains are characterized by a lack of energy equipartition between the degrees of freedom of translation and rotation. Excitation by vibrating walls additionally introduces strong gradients in the direction and magnitude of translational velocities. We show that the degrees of freedom equilibrate during granular cooling in the homogeneous cooling state. The energy loss follows a t−2 scaling. In addition, the alignment of the rod axes with the excitation direction and with the instantaneous velocities are altered during this process.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
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