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Shear Flows of Granular Materials


Campbell, Charles Soutter (1982) Shear Flows of Granular Materials. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/QZSF-E358.


Many of the macroscopic and microscopic features of shearing granular materials were observed during the course of this investigation.

The principal results were obtained from a computer simulation of the flows in an inclined chute, and in a Couette shear cell. The simulation followed the exact trajectories of two-dimensional discs through a control volume. Properties of the flow were obtained from temporal averages of the instantaneous particle properties. Macroscopic flow characteristics such as velocity and density profiles are presented. Because the simulation follows the exact mechanics of the particles it was also possible to investigate the statistical nature of granular flows. Towards this purpose velocity distributions, collision angle distributions and pair correlation functions were measured.

The results of the simulation draw a picture of a flowing granular material as a self-excited gas. There appears to be a "temperature" associated with the random motions of the particles, that is a product of gradients in the mean velocity field. An equation of state is proposed, involving this temperature, to describe the behavior of the density within the flow. A phenomenon reminscent of conduction is observed. The particle velocities appear to obey a Maxwellian distribution based on this temperature.

Preliminary experiments were also performed to investigate the flow of glass beads down inclined chutes. It is shown that the flows may be classified as either supercritical or subcritical depending on the local value of the Froude number, and that the classification had a strong influence on the flow properties. In addition, wall friction coefficients were determined.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Mechanical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Mechanical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Brennen, Christopher E. (advisor)
  • Sabersky, Rolf H. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Brennen, Christopher E. (chair)
  • Sabersky, Rolf H.
  • Scott, Ronald F.
  • Corngold, Noel Robert
  • List, E. John
Defense Date:24 May 1982
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Union Carbide CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Chevron Oil Field ResearchUNSPECIFIED
R. T. Baker FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11242003-104837
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4649
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:24 Nov 2003
Last Modified:15 May 2020 00:50

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