Force fluctuations at the transition from quasi-static to inertial granular flow.
We analyse the rheology of gravity-driven, dry granular flows in experiments where individual forces within the flow bulk are measured. We release photoelastic discs at the top of an incline to create a quasi-static erodible bed over which flows a steady 2D avalanche. The flowing layers we produce are dense (φ ≈ 0.8), thin (h ≈ 10d), and in the slow to intermediate flow regime (I = 0.1 to 1). Using particle tracking and photoelastic force measurements we report coarse-grained profiles for packing fraction, velocity, shear rate, inertial number, and stress tensor components. In addition, we define a quantitative measure for the rate of generation of new force chain networks and we observe that fluctuations extend below the boundary between dense flow and quasi-static layers. Finally, we evaluate several existing definitions for granular fluidity, and make comparisons among them and the behaviour of our experimentally-measured stress tensor components. Our measurements of the non-dimensional stress ratio μ show that our experiments lie within the local rheological regime, yet we observe rearrangements of the force network extending into the quasi-static layer where shear rates vanish. This elucidates why non-local rheological models rely on the notion of stress diffusion, and we thus propose non-local effects may in fact be dependent on the local force network fluctuation rate.
Online Publication Date
Royal Society (RG130403)
International Fine Particle Research Institute (IFPRI) (via North Carolina State University) (2016-0596-01 -)