Latest Granular material Stories
Today's advanced mobile robots explore complex terrains across the globe and even on Mars, but have difficulty traversing sand and other granular media like dirt, rubble or slippery piles of leaves.
Although it looks fairly unremarkable, this desert animal has a thing or two to teach materials-handling and process-technology specialists, as it spends most of its time below the surface of the sand and moves through its element extremely efficiently, and scientists hope to apply the insights they gain from nature to improve industrial technologies for the handling of granular materials.
In separate papers appearing in this week's Nature, researchers announce findings regarding the little-understood world of granular materials, systems of particles that can dictate the flow of avalanches, the quality of concrete and even the mixing of pharmaceuticals.
University of Chicago physicists have made careful measurements of flowing sand that can help resolve longstanding questions regarding how glasses differ from liquids at the atomic level.
Using color-changing plastic cylinders as a stand-in for a mass of granular material, Duke University physicists have created a computer-testable method to predict, particle-by-particle, how pushes, nudges and shoves at the edges transmit across large assemblages.
Driving, digging, mining: these are things astronauts will be doing one day in the sands of Mars. It's not as simple as it sounds. Understanding granular physics is essential for designing industrial machinery to handle vast quantities of small solids -- like fine Martian sand.
100 years after Einstein's landmark work on Brownian motion, physicists have discovered a new concept of temperature that could be the key to explaining how ice and snow particles flow during an avalanche, and could lead to a better way of handling tablets in the pharmaceutical industry.
- Stoppage; cessation (of labor).
- A standing still or idling (of mills, factories, etc.).