Latest Granular material Stories

2008-10-06 11:05:20

It moves as quickly in sand as a fish moves through water, which is why this lizard, a species of skink (Scincus scincus) that grows to about 15 cm long and lives in the deserts of North Africa and the Near East, is commonly known by the name "sandfish." 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...

2005-06-23 19:40:00

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. In both studies, the researchers developed new analytical tools that combine laboratory simulators with advanced computer simulations and mathematics, bringing additional quantitative methods to a field that relies mostly upon...

2005-06-22 12:50:00

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, the scientists report in the Thursday, June 23 issue of the journal Nature. Glass flows just like liquids do, but at such a super-sluggish pace that for all practical purposes it takes on the appearance of a solid at room temperature. Yet after years of experiments, scientists still have failed to determine...

2005-06-21 22:35:00

DURHAM, N.C. - 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. Masses of unpredictable granular particles -- from the ice chunks that make up avalanche-prone snowfields to the coal in gigantic coal bins -- can abruptly change behaviors with sometimes catastrophic results. Such...

2005-02-01 07:20:00

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. Science@NASA -- Imagine this scenario. The year is 2030 or thereabouts. After voyaging six months from Earth, you and several other astronauts are the first humans on Mars. You're standing on an alien world, dusty red dirt beneath your feet, looking around at a bunch of mining equipment deposited by previous robotic landers. Echoing in your ears are the final...

2005-02-01 07:00:00

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. This research is reported today in a special Einstein Year issue of the New Journal of Physics  published jointly by the Institute of Physics and the German Physical Society (Deutsche Physikalische...

Word of the Day
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.