Europhys. Lett.
Volume 68, Number 6, December 2004
Page(s) 818 - 824
Section Electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, heat transfer, classical mechanics, and fluid dynamics
Published online 17 November 2004
Europhys. Lett., 68 (6), pp. 818-824 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10283-5

Granular avalanches: Deterministic, correlated and decorrelated dynamics

M. A. S. Quintanilla, A. Castellanos and J. M. Valverde

Departamento de Electrónica y Electromagnetismo, Universidad de Sevilla Avenida Reina Mercedes s/n, 41012 Sevilla, Spain

received 25 June 2004; accepted in final form 15 October 2004
published online 17 November 2004

A statistical analysis of granular avalanches in a half-filled and slowly rotated drum is presented. For large-sized grains the classical coherent oscillation is reproduced, i.e. we observe a quasi-periodic succession of regularly sized avalanches. As particle size is decreased, we see a crossover to a new complex dynamics characterized by long-range time correlations of local avalanches without a typical size, although the size distribution is not scale invariant. In the limit of large values of the time lag avalanches turn gradually to be decorrelated. The trend observed in the system dynamics as particle size is decreased is ascribed to the increase of cohesiveness which promotes bulk disorder. We argue that our experimental findings can be qualitatively predicted by theoretical models with adjustable parameters such as unquenched disorder, random critical slope, fluidization length, inertia and dissipation.

45.70.-n - Granular systems.
45.70.Ht - Avalanches.
05.65.+b - Self-organized systems.

© EDP Sciences 2004