Effect of pressure on segregation in granular shear flows

Alexander M. Fry, Paul B. Umbanhowar, Julio M. Ottino, Richard M. Lueptow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The effect of confining pressure (overburden) on segregation of granular material is studied in discrete element method (DEM) simulations of horizontal planar shear flow. To mitigate changes to the shear rate due to the changing overburden, a linear with depth variation in the streamwise velocity component is imposed using a simple feedback scheme. Under these conditions, both the rate of segregation and the ultimate degree of segregation in size bidisperse and density bidisperse granular flows decrease with increasing overburden pressure and scale with the overburden pressure normalized by the lithostatic pressure of the particle bed. At overburdens greater than approximately 20 times the lithostatic pressure at the bottom of the bed, the density segregation rate is zero while the size segregation rate is small but nonzero, suggesting that different physical mechanisms drive the two types of segregation. The segregation rate scales close to linearly with the inertial number for both size bidisperse and density bidisperse mixtures under various flow conditions, leading to a proposed pressure dependence term for existing segregation velocity correlations. Surprisingly, particle stiffness has only a minor effect on segregation, although it significantly affects the packing density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number062906
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 27 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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