A Caltech Library Service

Channel flows of granular materials and their rheological implications

Ahn, H. and Brennen, C. (1993) Channel flows of granular materials and their rheological implications. In: Particulate two-phase flow. Butterworth-Heinemann series in chemical engineering. Butterworth-Heinemann , Boston, MA, pp. 210-243. ISBN 0750692758.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


While the flow of a dry granular material down an inclined channel may seem at first sight to be a relatively simple flow, the experiments which have been conducted up to now suggest sufficient complexity which may be present in all but the very simplest granular material flows; consequently it is important to our general understanding of granular material rheology that these experimental observations be fully understood. This review of the current knowledge of channel flows will focus on the basic mechanics of these flows and the contributions the observations have made to an understanding of the rheology. In order to make progress in this objective, it is necessary to avoid some of the complications which can occur in practice. Thus we shall focus only on those flows in which the interstitial fluid plays very little role in determining the rheology. In his classic paper, Bagnold (1954) was able to show that the regime in which the rheology was dominated by particle/particle or particle/wall interactions and in which the viscous stresses in the interstitial fluid played a negligible role could be defined by a single, Reynolds-number-like parameter. It transpires that the important component in this parameter is a number which we shall call the Bagnold number, Ba, defined by Ba = p₈d²δ/µF where p₈,µF are the particle density and interstitial fluid viscosity, d is the particle diameter and δ is the principal velocity gradient in the flow. In the shear flows explored by Bagnold δ is the shear rate. Bagnold (1954) found that when Ba was greater than about 450 the rheology was dominated by particle/particle and particle/wall collisions. On the other hand, for Ba < 40, the viscosity of the interstitial fluid played the dominant role. More recently Zeininger and Brennen (1985) showed that the same criteria were applicable to the extensional flows in hoppers provided the extensional velocity gradient was used for δ. This review will focus on the simpler flows at large Ba where the interstitial fluid effects are small. Other important ancillary effects can be caused by electrical charge separation between the particles or between the particles and the boundary walls. Such effects can be essential in some flows such as those in electrostatic copying machines. Most experimenters have observed electrical effects in granular material flows, particularly when metal components of the structure are not properly grounded. The effect of such electrical forces on the rheology of the flow is a largely unexplored area of research. The lack of discussion of these effects in this review should not be interpreted as a dismissal of their importance. Apart from electrical and interstitial fluid effects, this review will also neglect the effects caused by non-uniformities in the size and shape of the particles. Thus, for the most part, we focus on flows of particles of spherical shape and uniform size. It is clear that while an understanding of all of these effects will be necessary in the long term, there remain some important issues which need to be resolved for even the simplest granular material flows.

Item Type:Book Section
Additional Information:The authors wish to thank Professor R. H. Sabersky and Professor M. L. Hunt for helpful discussions on the subject matter of this review.
Series Name:Butterworth-Heinemann series in chemical engineering
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:AHNptpf93
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:179
Deposited By: Christopher Brennen
Deposited On:09 Nov 2004
Last Modified:10 Mar 2020 22:30

Repository Staff Only: item control page