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Dense granular flow: a review of the types of problems, approaches to solutions and outstanding opportunities

Thursday 8th January 2009 - 15:15 to 15:40
INI Seminar Room 1
Dense granular flow is everywhere; in the natural world, for example in the formation of sand dunes, pyroclastic flows from volcanoes, and landslips; and in the man-made world, from the building of embankments and stockpiles, through discharge of hoppers and silos, to separation of museli in bag packing and flow of sand in an egg-timer. The common and familiar nature of the phenomena, and their superficial simplicity, belie the extreme complexity of the physics within the systems and the consequent severe difficulty which is faced when trying to model them. In spite of well over a hundred years of scientific and engineering effort, our ability to predict such systems is still in its infancy. The authors have a long experience of developing and applying both new and established techniques for predicting the behaviour of dense granular flows, mainly for the purposes of designing and troubleshooting industrial particle processing systems across a huge range of industries. This paper sets out to build on this experience and the observed experience of many others, firstly by reviewing a wide range of practical activities involving dense granular flow which need to be modelled for the purposes of prediction and design. It explores the full range of different techniques which are available for modelling them, and evaluates the success of various different approaches which have been tried in many different classes of problems. It makes an attempt classify dense granular flow problems, and propose a philosphy for choosing techniques which are likely to be successful, based on these classifications. Finally, it identifies a number of key areas and types of problem which present major opportunities for furthering the understanding of the area.
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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons