Department of Physics Papers

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Journal Article

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Physical Review E





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We report on the nature of flow events for the gravity-driven discharge of glass beads through a hole that is small enough that the hopper is susceptible to clogging. In particular, we measure the average and standard deviation of the distribution of discharged masses as a function of both hole and grain sizes. We do so in air, which is usual, but also with the system entirely submerged under water. This damps the grain dynamics and could be expected to dramatically affect the distribution of the flow events, which are described in prior work as avalanche-like. Though the flow is slower and the events last longer, we find that the average discharge mass is only slightly reduced for submerged grains. Furthermore, we find that the shape of the distribution remains exponential, implying that clogging is still a Poisson process even for immersed grains. Per Thomas and Durian [Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 178001 (2015)], this allows for an interpretation of the average discharge mass in terms of the fraction of flow microstates that precede, i.e., that effectively cause, a stable clog to form. Since this fraction is barely altered by water, we conclude that the crucial microscopic variables are the grain positions; grain momenta play only a secondary role in destabilizing weak incipient arches. These insights should aid ongoing efforts to understand the susceptibility of granular hoppers to clogging.

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© 2017 American Physical Society. You can view the original article at:


research areas, fluid-particle interactions, granular flows, jamming, multiphase flows, polymers, soft matter, interdisciplinary physics, nonlinear dynamics, fluid dynamics, condensed matter, material physics



Date Posted: 13 October 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.