Breaking size-segregation waves and particle recirculation in granular avalanches

Thornton, A R and Gray, J M N T (2008) Breaking size-segregation waves and particle recirculation in granular avalanches. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 596 (596). pp. 261-284. ISSN 1469-7645

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Particle-size segregation is a common feature of dense gravity driven granular free-surface flows, where sliding and frictional grain-grain interactions dominate. Provided that the diameter ratio of the particles is not too large, the grains segregate by a process called kinetic sieving, which, on average, causes the large particles to rise to the surface and the small grains to sink to the base of the avalanche. When the flowing layer is brought to rest this stratification is often preserved in the deposit and is known by geologists as inverse grading. Idealized experiments with bi-disperse mixtures of differently sized grains have shown that inverse grading can be extremely sharp on rough beds at low inclination angles, and may be modelled as a concentration jump or shock. Several authors have developed hyperbolic conservation laws for segregation that naturally lead to a perfectly inversely-graded state, with a pure phase of coarse particles separated from a pure phase of fines below, by a sharp concentration jump. A generic feature of these models is that monotonically decreasing sections of this concentration shock, steepen and eventually break when the layer is sheared. In this paper, we investigate the structure of the subsequent breaking, which is important for large particle recirculation at the bouldery margins of debris flows and for fingering instabilities of dry granular flows. We develop an exact quasi-steady travelling wave solution for the structure of the breaking/recirculation zone, which consists of two shocks and two expansion fans that are arranged in a \lq lens\rq-like structure. A high-resolution shock capturing numerical scheme is used to investigate the temporal evolution of a linearly decreasing shock towards a steady-state lens, as well as the interaction of two recirculation zones that travel at different speeds and eventually coalesce to form a single zone.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Particle size segregation, wave breaking
Subjects: MSC 2010, the AMS's Mathematics Subject Classification > 35 Partial differential equations
MSC 2010, the AMS's Mathematics Subject Classification > 86 Geophysics
Depositing User: Dr Anthony Thornton
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2017 14:12

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