Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 216–229 | Cite as

Energy conversion and deposition behaviour in gravitational collapse of granular columns

  • Bo-lin HuangEmail author
  • Jian Wang
  • Quan Zhang
  • Chao-lin Luo
  • Xiao-ting Chen


The high-density gravitational collapse of granular columns is very similar to the movements of large collapsing columns in nature. Based on the development of dangerous columnar rock mass in fields, granular column collapse boundary condition in the physical experiments of this study is a new type of boundary conditions with a single free face and a three-dimensional deposit. Physical experiments have shown that the mobility of small particles during the collapse of granular columns was greater than that of large particles. For example, when particle size was increased from 5 to 15 mm, deposit runout was decreased by about 16.4%. When a column consisted of two particle types with different sizes, these particles could mix in the vicinity of layer interfaces and small particles might increase the mobility of large particles. In the process of collapse, potential and kinetic energy conversion rate is fluctuated. By increasing initial aspect ratio a, the ratio of the initial height of column to its length along flow direction, potential and kinetic energy conversion rate is decreased. For example, as a was increased from 0.5 to 4, the ratio of maximum kinetic energy obtained and total potential energy loss was decreased from 47.6% to 7.4%. After movement stopped, an almost trapezoidal body remained in the column and a fanlike or fan-shaped accumulation was formed on the periphery of column. Using multiple exponential functions of the aspect ratio a, the planar morphology of the collapse deposit of granular columns could be quantitatively characterized. The movement of pillar dangerous rock masses with collapse failure mode could be evaluated using this granular column experimental results.


Granular columns Rock collapse Collapse experiments Energy conversion Deposit sequence Deposit prediction 


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This work was supported by National Key R&D Program of China (Nos 2018YFC1504803, 2018YFC1504806) and Geological Hazard Prevention and Control Project for Follow-Up Work of the Three Gorges Project (Nos. 001212019C C60 001, 000121 2018C C60 008).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hubei Key Laboratory of Disaster Prevention and MitigationChina Three Gorges UniversityYichangChina
  2. 2.National Observatory of the Three Gorges Landslide, Yangtze River, Hubei ProvinceChina Three Gorges UniversityYichangChina
  3. 3.Pearl River Water Resources Research InstituteGuangzhouChina

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