Remarkable simplicity in the prediction of nonspherical particle segregation

Ryan P. Jones, Julio M. Ottino, Paul B. Umbanhowar, Richard M. Lueptow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Size-disperse mixtures of noncohesive particles segregate, or demix, during flow. For spherical particles, mixture segregation can be predicted based on the relative particle diameters. However, most particle systems in industry and geophysics involve nonspherical particles. Accounting for the immense range of particle shapes introduces additional parameters. As a proxy for nonspherical particles in general, we perform discrete element method simulations of gravity-driven free-surface flows of bidisperse mixtures of mm-sized particles that vary widely in their size and shape (disks, rods, and spheres). Remarkably, the propensity to segregate, measured in terms of a segregation length scale that characterizes the segregation velocity of the two species, can be predicted based on only the volume ratio of the two particle species. The segregation length scale increases linearly with the log of the volume ratio, as it does for bidisperse mixtures of spherical particles, independent of particle shape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number042021
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 28 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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