Equilibration and symmetry breaking in vibrated granular systems
Física Teórica, Universidad de Sevilla - Apartado de Correos 1065, E-41080 Sevilla, Spain, EU
Accepted: 6 March 2011
The steady states of two vibrated granular gases separated by an adiabatic piston are investigated. The system exhibits a non-equilibrium phase transition with a spontaneous symmetry breaking. Even if the gases at both sides of the piston have the same number of particles and are mechanically identical, their steady volumes and temperatures can be rather different. The transition can be explained by a simple kinetic theory model expressing mechanical equilibrium and the energy balance occurring in the system. The model predictions are in good agreement with molecular dynamics simulation results. The macroscopic description of the steady states is discussed, as well as some physical implications of the symmetry breaking.
PACS: 45.70.-n – Granular systems / 05.20.Dd – Kinetic theory / 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion
© EPLA, 2011