Gravitational instabilities in binary granular materials.
ABSTRACT: The motion and mixing of granular media are observed in several contexts in nature, often displaying striking similarities to liquids. Granular dynamics occur in geological phenomena and also enable technologies ranging from pharmaceuticals production to carbon capture. Here, we report the discovery of a family of gravitational instabilities in granular particle mixtures subject to vertical vibration and upward gas flow, including a Rayleigh-Taylor (RT)-like instability in which lighter grains rise through heavier grains in the form of "fingers" and "granular bubbles." We demonstrate that this RT-like instability arises due to a competition between upward drag force increased locally by gas channeling and downward contact forces, and thus the physical mechanism is entirely different from that found in liquids. This gas channeling mechanism also generates other gravitational instabilities: the rise of a granular bubble which leaves a trail of particles behind it and the cascading branching of a descending granular droplet. These instabilities suggest opportunities for patterning within granular mixtures.
Project description:Grains exiting an underwater silo exhibit an unexpected surge in discharge rate as they empty. This contrasts with the constant flow rate of dry granular hoppers and the decreasing flow rate of pure liquids. Here we find that this surge depends on hopper diameter and happens also in air. The surge can be turned off by fixing the rate of fluid flow through the granular packing. With no flow control, dye injected on top of the packing gets drawn into the grains. We conclude that the surge is caused by a self-generated pumping of fluid through the packing. The effect is modelled via a driving pressure set by the exit speed of the grains. This highlights a surprising and unrecognized role that interstitial fluid plays in setting the discharge rate, and perhaps in controlling clog formation, for granular hoppers whether in air or under water.
Project description:Triggering large-scale motion by imposing vibrations to a system can be encountered in many situations, from daily-life shaking of saltcellar to silo unclogging or dynamic earthquakes triggering. In the well-known situation of solid or granular friction, the acceleration of imposed vibrations has often been proposed as the governing parameter for the transition between stick-slip motion and continuous sliding. The threshold acceleration for the onset of continuous slip motion or system unjamming is usually found of the order of the gravitational acceleration. These conclusions are mostly drawn from numerical studies. Here, we investigate, in the laboratory, granular friction by shearing a layer of grains subjected to horizontal vibrations. We show that, in contrast with previous results, the quantity that controls the frictional properties is the characteristic velocity, and not the acceleration, of the imposed mechanical vibrations. Thus, when the system is statically loaded, the typical acceleration of the vibrations which trigger large slip events is much smaller than the gravitational acceleration. These results may be relevant to understand dynamic earthquake triggering by small ground perturbations.
Project description:During the Ru deposition process for granular type perpendicular magnetic recording media, both a reduction in the Ru intermediate layer thickness and lowering of sputtering gas pressure were successfully achieved by focusing on a self-shadowing effect. Oblique-incidence sputtering with a 60° incident angle under an Ar gas pressure of 0.6 Pa yielded (1) columnar Ru grains with a growth direction of 30° from the film normal, (2) c-plane sheet texture by epitaxial growth on the Pt underlayer, and (3) a flat envelope of the surface and a deep gap at grain boundaries. This change in the Ru structure significantly contributes to reducing exchange coupling among magnetic grains, especially in the initial growth region in an overlying granular medium.
Project description:Meandering instability is familiar to everyone through river meandering or small rivulets of rain flowing down a windshield. However, its physical understanding is still premature, although it could inspire researchers in various fields, such as nonlinear science, fluid mechanics and geophysics, to resolve their long-standing problems. Here, we perform a small-scale experiment in which air flow is created in a thin granular bed to successfully find a meandering regime, together with other remarkable fluidized regimes, such as a turbulent regime. We discover that phase diagrams of the flow regimes for different types of grains can be universally presented as functions of the flow rate and the granular-bed thickness when the two quantities are properly renormalized. We further reveal that the meandering shapes are self-similar as was shown for meandering rivers. The experimental findings are explained by theory, with elucidating the physics. The theory is based on force balance, a minimum-dissipation principle, and a linear-instability analysis of a continuum equation that takes into account the fluid-solid duality, i.e., the existence of fluidized and solidified regions of grains along the meandering path. The present results provide fruitful links to related issues in various fields, including fluidized bed reactors in industry.
Project description:Stars may not accumulate their mass steadily, as was previously thought, but in a series of violent events manifesting themselves as sharp stellar brightening. These events can be caused by fragmentation due to gravitational instabilities in massive gaseous disks surrounding young stars, followed by migration of dense gaseous clumps onto the star. Our high-resolution near-infrared imaging has verified the presence of the key associated features, large-scale arms and arcs surrounding four young stellar objects undergoing luminous outbursts. Our hydrodynamics simulations and radiative transfer models show that these observed structures can indeed be explained by strong gravitational instabilities occurring at the beginning of the disk formation phase. The effect of those tempestuous episodes of disk evolution on star and planet formation remains to be understood.
Project description:Density-wave fronts in a vibrofluidized wet granular layer undergoing a gas-liquid-like transition are investigated experimentally. The threshold of the instability is governed by the amplitude of the vertical vibrations. Fronts, which are curved into a spiral shape, propagate coherently along the circular rim of the container with leading edges. They are stable beyond a critical distance from the container center. Based on an analysis of the emerging time and length scales, we propose a model for the pattern formation by considering the competition between the time scale for the condensation of wet granular particles from a gas-like state and that of the energy injection resisting this process.
Project description:Understanding magma fragmentation mechanisms in explosive eruptions is a key requirement for volcanic hazard assessment, eruption management and risk mitigation. This paper focuses on a type case small explosivity eruption (July-August 2015 eruption of Piton de la Fournaise). These eruptions, despite being often overlooked, are exceedingly frequent on local-to-global scales and constitute a significant hazard in vent-proximal areas, which are often populated by guides, tourists and, indeed, volcanologists due to their accessibility. The explosions presented here are ideal cases for the study of the dynamics of magma fragmentation and how it relates to the size distribution of scoria generated at the vent. We documented these events visually and thermally, and characterised the products through sample-return. This allowed us to describe small-scale gas bursts sending ejecta up to 30 m during intermittent lava fountains. Surface tension instabilities and inertial forces played a major role in fragmentation processes and generated particles with coarse-skewed distributions and median diameters ranging from - 8 to - 10 ?. However, with time distributions of particles in the most energetic fountains shifted towards more symmetrical shapes as median grains sizes became finer. Analyses of sequences of images demonstrate that the evolution of particle size distributions with time is due to instability of magma droplets and (in-flight) fragmentation.
Project description:The electrochemical reduction of CO2 is promising for mitigating anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions; however, voltage instabilities currently inhibit reaching high current densities that are prerequisite for commercialization. Here, for the first time, we elucidate that product gaseous bubble accumulation on the electrode/electrolyte interface is the direct cause of the voltage instability in CO2 electrolyzers. Although bubble formation in water electrolyzers has been extensively studied, we identified that voltage instability caused by bubble formation is unique to CO2 electrolyzers. The appearance of syngas bubbles within the electrolyte at the gas diffusion electrode (GDE)-electrolyte chamber interface (i.e. ?10% bubble coverage of the GDE surface) was accompanied by voltage oscillations of 60 mV. The presence of syngas in the electrolyte chamber physically inhibited two-phase reaction interfaces, thereby resulting in unstable cell performance. The strategic incorporation of our insights on bubble growth behavior and voltage instability is vital for designing commercially relevant CO2 electrolyzers.
Project description:Break-induced replication (BIR) is a DNA double-strand break repair pathway that leads to genomic instabilities similar to those observed in cancer. BIR proceeds by a migrating bubble where asynchrony between leading and lagging strand synthesis leads to accumulation of long single-stranded DNA (ssDNA). It remains unknown how this ssDNA is prevented from unscheduled pairing with the template, which can lead to genomic instability. Here, we propose that uncontrolled Rad51 binding to this ssDNA promotes formation of toxic joint molecules that are counteracted by Srs2. First, Srs2 dislodges Rad51 from ssDNA preventing promiscuous strand invasions. Second, it dismantles toxic intermediates that have already formed. Rare survivors in the absence of Srs2 rely on structure-specific endonucleases, Mus81 and Yen1, that resolve toxic joint-molecules. Overall, we uncover a new feature of BIR and propose that tight control of ssDNA accumulated during this process is essential to prevent its channeling into toxic structures threatening cell viability.
Project description:As the resolution of analytical methods improves, further progress tends to be increasingly limited by instrumental parameter instabilities that were previously inconsequential. This is now the case with differential ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS), where fluctuations of the voltages and gas pressure have become critical. A new high-definition generator for FAIMS compensation voltage reported here provides a stable and accurate output than can be scanned with negligible steps. This reduces the spectral drift and peak width, thus improving the resolving power (R) and resolution. The gain for multiply-charged peptides that have narrowest peaks is up to ~40%, and R ~400-500 is achievable using He/N(2) or H(2)/N(2) gas mixtures.