Shallow granular flows

Daisuke Takagi*, Jim N. McElwaine, Herbert E. Huppert

*Corresponding author for this work

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

17 Citations (Scopus)


Many processes in geophysical and industrial settings involve the flow of granular materials down a slope. In order to investigate the granular dynamics, we report a series of laboratory experiments conducted by releasing grains at a steady rate from a localized source on a rough inclined plane. Different types of dense granular flow are observed by varying the flow rate at the source and the slope of the inclined plane. The two cases of steady flow confined by levees and the flow of avalanches down the plane are examined. The width of the steady flow increases linearly with the prescribed flow rate, which does not appreciably affect the characteristic depth or surface velocity of the bulk flow. When the flow rate is just below that required for sustaining the steady flow, avalanches are triggered at regular intervals. The avalanches maintain their shape, size, and speed down the inclined plane. We propose a simple model of steady flow that is consistent with our observations and discuss the challenges associated with the theoretical treatment of avalanche dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031306
JournalPhysical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2011

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