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Granular Segregation as a Critical Phenomenon

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Abstract: Segregation in mixtures of granular materials is a topic which is of interest to a broad range of scientists from physicists, to geologists and engineers. The phenomenon involves the spontaneous de-mixing of an initially mixed state into its constituent components under the action of flow. We will discuss these issues and present the results of experimental investigations into particle segregation in a binary mixture which is subject to periodic horizontal forcing. The initially mixed state undergoes a surprising selforganization process such that the two constituent components separate to form patterned structures. The pattern formation process shows critical dependence on the concentration ratio of the mixture. Detailed features of the observations appear to be in accord with notions from equilibrium phase transitions.

This talk is part of the BSS Formal Seminars series.

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