Europhys. Lett.
Volume 66, Number 3, May 2004
Page(s) 357 - 363
Section Electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, heat transfer, classical mechanics, and fluid dynamics
Published online 01 April 2004
Europhys. Lett., 66 (3) , pp. 357-363 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10210-4

Gases, liquids and crystals in granular segregation

P. M. Reis1, G. Ehrhardt2, A. Stephenson2 and T. Mullin1

1  Manchester Center for Nonlinear Dynamics, University of Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
2  Theoretical Physics Group, Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Manchester - Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

(Received 2 September 2003; accepted in final form 19 February 2004)

We report the results of an experimental investigation of segregation in a binary mixture of dry particles subjected to horizontal oscillatory excitation. The thin layer of particles was driven by the stick-slip frictional interaction with the surface of a horizontal tray. As the packing fraction of the mixture was increased, the evolution of distinct phases was observed. We identified them as a binary gas, segregation liquid and segregation crystal and provide both microscopic and macroscopic measures to identify their properties. Finally, we draw some analogies between segregation in our granular system and self-assembly in binary colloidal mixtures.

45.70.-n - Granular systems.
64.75.+g - Solubility, segregation, and mixing; phase separation.
82.70.Dd - Colloids.

© EDP Sciences 2004