We study the transition between steady flows of noncohesive granular materials in quasi-two-dimensional bounded heaps by suddenly changing the feed rate. In both experiments and simulations, the primary feature of the transition is a wedge of flowing particles that propagates downstream over the rising free surface with a wedge front velocity inversely proportional to the square root of time. An additional longer duration transient process continues after the wedge front reaches the downstream wall. The entire transition is well modeled as a moving boundary problem with a diffusionlike equation derived from local mass balance and a local relation between the flux and the surface slope.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics