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The stress tensor in a granular flow at high shear rates

  • S. B. Savage (a1) and D. J. Jeffrey (a2)

Abstract

The stress tensor in a granular shear flow is calculated by supposing that binary collisions between the particles comprising the granular mass are responsible for most of the momentum transport. We assume that the particles are smooth, hard, elastic spheres and express the stress as an integral containing probability distribution functions for the velocities of the particles and for their spatial arrangement. By assuming that the single-particle velocity distribution function is Maxwellian and that the spatial pair distribution function is given by a formula due to Carnahan & Starling, we reduce this integral to one depending upon a single non-dimensional parameter R: the ratio of the characteristic mean shear velocity to the root mean square of the precollisional particle-velocity perturbation. The integral is evaluated asymptotically for R [Gt ] 1 and R [Lt ] 1 and numerically for intermediate values. Good agreement is found between the stresses measured in experiments on dry granular materials and the theoretical predictions when R is given the value 1·7. This case is probably the one for which the present analysis is most appropriate. For moderate and large values of R, the theory predicts both shear and normal stresses that are proportional to the square of the particle diameter and the square of the shear rate, and depend strongly on the solids volume fraction. A provisional comparison is made between the stresses predicted in the limit R → ∞ and the experimental results of Bagnold for shear flow of neutrally buoyant wax spheres suspended in water. The predicted stresses are of the correct order of magnitude and yield the proper variation of stress with concentration. When R [Lt ] 1, the shear stress is linear in the shear rate, and the analysis can be applied to shear flow in a fluidized bed, although such an application is not developed further here.

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The stress tensor in a granular flow at high shear rates

  • S. B. Savage (a1) and D. J. Jeffrey (a2)

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