Granular collapse in two dimensions

NJ Balmforth, RR Kerswell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

231 Citations (Scopus)


An experimental investigation is conducted into the collapse of granular columns inside rectangular channels. The final shape is documented for slumps inside relatively wide channels, and for collapses inside much narrower slots. In both cases, the collapse is initiated by withdrawing a swinging gate or sliding door, and the flow remains fairly two-dimensional. Four different granular media are used; the properties of the materials vary significantly, notably in their angles of friction for basal sliding and internal deformation. If H is the initial height of the column, h(infinity), the maximum final height of the column and a the initial aspect ratio, then the data suggest that H/h(infinity) similar to a(0.6) in wide channels and H/h(infinity) similar to a(0.5) for narrow slots. For the runout, we find that (l(infinity) - L)/L similar to a(0.9 +/- 0.1) for wide channels, and (l infinity - L)/L similar to a(0.65 +/- 0.05) or l(infinity)/L similar to a(0.55 +/- 0.05) for narrow slots, where l(infinity), is the maximum runout of the material and L the initial length of the column along the channel (a := H/L). In all cases, the numerical constant of proportionality in these scaling relations shows clear material dependence. In wide slots, there is no obvious universal scaling behaviour of the final profile, but such a behaviour is evident in narrow slots. The experimental results are compared with theoretical results based on a shallow granular-flow model. The qualitative behaviour of the slump in the wide slot is reproduced by the theoretical model. However, there is qualitative disagreement between theory and the experiments in the narrow slot because of the occurrence of secondary surface avalanching.
Translated title of the contributionGranular collapse in two dimensions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399 - 428
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Cambridge Univ Press
Other identifier: IDS Number: 971CB


Dive into the research topics of 'Granular collapse in two dimensions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this