Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Mechanics of collisional motion of granular materials. Part 1. General hydrodynamic equations

Alexander  Goldshtein a1 and Michael  Shapiro a1c1
a1 Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel

Article author query
goldshtein a   [Google Scholar] 
shapiro m   [Google Scholar] 


Collisional motion of a granular material composed of rough inelastic spheres is analysed on the basis of the kinetic Boltzmann–Enskog equation. The Chapman–Enskog method for gas kinetic theory is modified to derive the Euler-like hydrodynamic equations for a system of moving spheres, possessing constant roughness and inelasticity. The solution is obtained by employing a general isotropic expression for the singlet distribution function, dependent upon the spatial gradients of averaged hydrodynamic properties. This solution form is shown to be appropriate for description of rapid shearless motions of granular materials, in particular vibrofluidized regimes induced by external vibrations.

The existence of the hydrodynamic state of evolution of a granular medium, where the Euler-like equations are valid, is delineated in terms of the particle roughness, β, and restitution, e, coefficients. For perfectly elastic spheres this state is shown to exist for all values of particle roughness, i.e. − 1[less-than-or-equal]β[less-than-or-equal]1. However, for inelastically colliding granules the hydrodynamic state exists only when the particle restitution coefficient exceeds a certain value em(β)< 1.

In contrast with the previous results obtained by approximate moment methods, the partition of the random-motion kinetic energy of inelastic rough particles between rotational and translational modes is shown to be strongly affected by the particle restitution coefficient. The effect of increasing inelasticity of particle collisions is to redistribute the kinetic energy of their random motion in favour of the rotational mode. This is shown to significantly affect the energy partition law, with respect to the one prevailing in a gas composed of perfectly elastic spheres of arbitrary roughness. In particular, the translational specific heat of a gas composed of inelastically colliding (e = 0.6) granules differs from its value for elastic particles by as much as 55 %.

It is shown that the hydrodynamic Euler-like equation, describing the transport and evolution of the kinetic energy of particle random motion, contains energy sink terms of two types (both, however, stemming from the non-conservative nature of particle collisions) : (i) the term describing energy losses in incompressibly flowing gas; (ii) the terms accounting for kinetic energy loss (or gain) associated with the work of pressure forces, leading to gas compression (or expansion). The approximate moment methods are shown to yield the Euler-like energy equation with an incorrect energy sink term of type (ii), associated with the ‘dense gas effect’. Another sink term of the same type, but associated with the energy relaxation process occurring within compressed granular gases, was overlooked in all previous studies.

The speed of sound waves propagating in a granular gas is analysed in the limits of low and high granular gas densities. It is shown that the particle collisional properties strongly affect the speed of sound in dense granular media. This dependence is manifested via the kinetic energy sink terms arising from gas compression. Omission of the latter terms in the evaluation of the speed of sound results in an error, which in the dense granular gas limit is shown to amount to a several-fold factor.

(Published Online April 26 2006)
(Received August 11 1992)
(Revised July 5 1994)

c1 To whom all correspondence should be addressed.