Convection and fluidization in oscillatory granular flows: The role of acoustic streaming
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- Valverde, J.M. Eur. Phys. J. E (2015) 38: 66. doi:10.1140/epje/i2015-15066-7
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Convection and fluidization phenomena in vibrated granular beds have attracted a strong interest from the physics community since the last decade of the past century. As early reported by Faraday, the convective flow of large inertia particles in vibrated beds exhibits enigmatic features such as frictional weakening and the unexpected influence of the interstitial gas. At sufficiently intense vibration intensities surface patterns appear bearing a stunning resemblance with the surface ripples (Faraday waves) observed for low-viscosity liquids, which suggests that the granular bed transits into a liquid-like fluidization regime despite the large inertia of the particles. In his 1831 seminal paper, Faraday described also the development of circulation air currents in the vicinity of vibrating plates. This phenomenon (acoustic streaming) is well known in acoustics and hydrodynamics and occurs whenever energy is dissipated by viscous losses at any oscillating boundary. The main argument of the present paper is that acoustic streaming might develop on the surface of the large inertia particles in the vibrated granular bed. As a consequence, the drag force on the particles subjected to an oscillatory viscous flow is notably enhanced. Thus, acoustic streaming could play an important role in enhancing convection and fluidization of vibrated granular beds, which has been overlooked in previous studies. The same mechanism might be relevant to geological events such as fluidization of landslides and soil liquefaction by earthquakes and sound waves.