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Title: Modelling size-segregation in dense granular flows
Author: Gajjar, Parmesh
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 5971
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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Dense flows of grains are commonplace throughout natural and industrial environments, from snow-avalanches down the sides of mountains to flows of cereal down chutes as it is transported from one part of a factory to another. A ubiquitous feature in all of these flows is their ability to separate the different grain types when shaken, stirred, sheared or vibrated. Many flows are sheared through gravity and these flows are particularly efficient at segregating particles based on their size, with small particles percolating to the bottom of the flow and large particles collecting at the top. Within this mechanism, an asymmetry between the large and small particles has been observed, with small particles percolating downwards through many large particles at a faster rate than large particles rise upwards through many small particles. This alternative format thesis presents a revised continuum model for segregation of a bidisperse mixture that can account for this asymmetry. A general class of asymmetric segregation flux functions is introduced that gives rise to asymmetric velocities between the large and small grains. Exact solutions for segregation down an inclined chute, with homogenous and normally graded inflow conditions, show that the asymmetry can significantly enhance the distance for complete segregation. Experiments performed using a classical shear-box with refractive index matched scanning are able to quantify the asymmetry between large and small particles on both bulk and particle scales. The dynamics of a single small particle indicate that it not only falls down faster than a single large particle rises, but that it also exhibits a step-like motion compared to the smooth ascent of the large grain. This points towards an underlying asymmetry between the different sized constituents. The relationship between the segregation-time and the volume fraction of small grains is analysed, and solutions presented for the steady-state balance between segregation and diffusive remixing. These help to show the good agreement between the asymmetric model and experimental data. Segregation at the front of natural avalanches produces a recirculation zone, known as a `breaking size-segregation wave', in which large particles are initially segregated upwards, sheared towards the front of the flow, and overrun before being resegregated again. Solutions for the structure of this recirculation zone are derived using the asymmetric flux model, revealing a novel `lens-tail' structure. Critically, it is seen that a few large particles starting close to the bottom of the flow are swept a long way upstream and take a very long time to recirculate. The breaking size-segregation waves highlight the important interplay between segregation and the bulk velocity field. The properties of flowing monodisperse grains are explored through experiments on a cone that produce a beautiful radial fingering pattern. Equations developed in a conical coordinate system reproduce the measured linear relationship between fingering radius and initial flux, whilst also predicting the slowing and thinning dynamics of the flow. Overall, these results illustrate the complex nature of the granular rheology and provide perspectives for future modelling of segregation in dense granular flows.
Supervisor: Gray, Nico ; Johnson, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: granular materials ; particle-size segregation ; mathematical modelling ; dense granular flows ; avalanches