Order from Chaos: Dynamics of density segregation in continuously aerated granular systems
Under continual disturbance such as vibration, tumbling, flow or aeration, granular or powder systems can display solid or fluid like behavior. Using a well-mixed system of same size (0.2 mm) non-cohesive glass beads and iron powder, we show that gentle aeration can completely segregate the components thereby reducing the entropy of mixing to create near total order from an initially chaotic mixture. We quantify the time dependence of the segregation process and identify two dynamic pathways that dominate depending on the intensity of the aeration. Such findings can facilitate the search for energy efficient methods to process granular systems in pharmaceutical, mining and waste recovery industries.
Keywords: Fluidized bed, Density segregation, Granular system, Time dependence