a1 Particles and Grains Laboratory, School of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Granular materials segregate by size when sheared, which increases the destructive power in avalanches and causes demixing in industrial flows. Here we present a concise theory to describe this phenomenon for systems that for the first time include particles of arbitrary size. The evolution of the grainsize distribution during flow is described based on mass and momentum conservation. The theory is derived in a five-dimensional space, which besides position and time, includes a grainsize coordinate. By coupling the theory with a simple constitutive law we predict the kinematics of the flow, which depends on the grainsize dynamics. We show that the underpinning mechanism controlling segregation is a stress variation with grainsize. The theory, solved by a finite difference scheme, is found to predict the dynamics of segregation consistent with results obtained from discrete element simulations of polydisperse granular flow down inclined planes. Moreover, when applied to bimixtures, the general polydisperse theory reveals the role of grainsize contrast.
(Received July 01 2011)
(Reviewed September 02 2011)
(Accepted October 12 2011)
(Online publication November 14 2011)