A hierarchy of continuum models for granular flow

Applied Math And Analysis Seminar

Ken Kamrin (MIT)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
119 Physics

Granular materials are common in everyday life but are historically difficult to model. This has direct ramifications owing to the prominent role granular media play in multiple industries and terrain dynamics. One can attempt to track every grain with discrete particle methods, but realistic systems are often too large for this approach and a continuum model is desired. However, granular media display unusual behaviors that complicate the continuum treatment: they can behave like solid, flow like liquid, or separate into a "gas", and the rheology of the flowing state displays remarkable subtleties that have been historically difficult to model. To address these challenges, in this talk we develop a family of continuum models and solvers, permitting quantitative modeling capabilities for a variety of applications, ranging from general problems to specific techniques for problems of intrusion, impact, driving, and locomotion in grains.

To calculate flows in general cases, a rather significant nonlocal effect is evident, which is well-described with our recent nonlocal model accounting for grain cooperativity within the flow rule. This model enables us to capture a number of seemingly disparate manifestations of particle size-effects in granular flows including: (i) the wide shear-band widths observed in many inhomogeneous flows, (ii) the apparent strengthening exhibited in thin layers of grains, and (iii) the fluidization observed due to far-away motion of a boundary. On the other hand, to model only intrusion forces on submerged objects, we will show, and explain why, many of the experimentally observed results can be captured from a much simpler tension-free frictional plasticity model. This approach gives way to some surprisingly simple general tools, including the granular Resistive Force Theory, and a broad set of scaling laws inherent to the problem of granular locomotion. These scalings are validated experimentally and in discrete particle simulations suggesting a new down-scaled paradigm for granular locomotive design, on earth and beyond, to be used much like scaling laws in fluid mechanics.

Last updated: 2017/12/15 - 4:21am