Granular segregation induced by a moving subsurface blade
Size-driven particle segregation can occur when an object such as a blade moves through an otherwise static bed of granular material. Here we use discrete element method (DEM) simulations to study segregation resulting from a subsurface blade moving through a bed of size-bidisperse spherical particles. Segregation increases with each pass of the blade until a surface layer of mostly large particles forms above a small-particle layer adjacent to the bottom wall. The rate of segregation decreases with each pass so that the degree of segregation asymptotically approaches its maximum value, and the number of passes to reach a steady segregation state increases as the bed depth is increased or the blade height decreased. In shallow beds, the characteristic number of passes for segregation, τ, scales with the inverse of the granular inertial number, I. In deep beds with small blade heights, the effect of the blade is more localized to its immediate vicinity, resulting in many more passes of the blade to reach a steady segregation state, and a corresponding deviation from the shallow bed scaling of τ with I−1.
Keywords: Granular segregation, Granular materials