Microscopic structure and dynamics study of granular segregation mechanism by cyclic shear

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Science Advances  17 Feb 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 8, eabe8737
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe8737


Granular mixtures with size difference can segregate upon shaking or shear. However, the quantitative study of this process remains difficult because it can be influenced by many mechanisms. Conflicting results on similar experimental systems are frequently obtained when the experimental conditions are not well controlled, which is mainly due to the fact that many mechanisms can be at work simultaneously. Moreover, it is often that macroscopic or empirical measures, which lack microscopic physical bases, are used to explain the experimental findings and therefore cannot provide an accurate and complete depiction of the overall process. Here, we carry out a detailed and systematic microscopic structure and dynamics study of a cyclically sheared granular system with rigorously controlled experimental conditions. We find that both convection and arching effect play important roles in the segregation process in our system, and we can quantitatively identify their respective contributions.

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