Experimental study of density segregation at end walls in a horizontal rotating cylinder saturated with fluid: friction to lubrication transition

Shakil Ahmed, Sam E John, I.D. Sutalo, Guy Metcalfe, K. Liffman

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What is the effect of interstitial fluid viscosity on granular density segregation in a horizontal rotating cylinder? We conducted experiments in the rolling regime with equal amounts of equal sized high and low density, nearly spherical granular particles saturated with air, water, and waterglycerin mixtures.We held particle density, rotation rate and characteristic length scale constant to highlight differences due purely to the interstitial fluid. Images of the granular flow at an end wall were used to determine radial and axial density segregation rates and patterns. Over a four decade change in viscosity, segregation rates varied by only a factor of two. However, for ratios of lubrication to frictional stresses above one, segregation rates decreased by about 30%, and we observed several notable phenomena in the segregation pattern formation. Thesewere a creeping mode of radial density segregation, a change in shape of the granular bed to kidney shaped from flat, and for cylindersmore than half full the typically reported unsheared central portion of the granular bed (often referred to in the literature as a core region) was disrupted by a wavy instability where the rate of disappearance of the core region decreased as the fill level increased.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Core instability
  • Creeping segregation
  • Density segregation
  • End walls
  • Friction
  • Lubrication
  • Saturation
  • Viscosity

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