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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2004 Jun;69(6 Pt 1):061304. Epub 2004 Jun 15.

Thermal convection in monodisperse and bidisperse granular gases: a simulation study.

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Dipartimento di Fisica, Universit√° di Camerino and Istituto Nazionale di Fisica della Materia, Via Madonna delle Carceri, 62032 Camerino, Italy.


We present results of a simulation study of inelastic hard disks vibrated in a vertical container. An event-driven molecular dynamics method is developed for studying the onset of convection. Varying the relevant parameters (inelasticity, number of layers at rest, intensity of the gravity) we are able to obtain a qualitative agreement of our results with recent hydrodynamical predictions. Increasing the inelasticity, a first continuous transition from the absence of convection to one convective roll is observed, followed by a discontinuous transition to two convective rolls, with hysteretic behavior. At fixed inelasticity and increasing gravity, a transition from no convection to one roll can be evidenced. If the gravity is further increased, the roll is eventually suppressed. Increasing the number of monolayers the system eventually localizes mostly at the bottom of the box: in this case multiple convective rolls as well as surface waves appear. We analyze the density and temperature fields and study the existence of symmetry breaking in these fields in the direction perpendicular to the injection of energy. We also study a binary mixture of grains with different properties (inelasticity or diameters). The effect of changing the properties of one of the components is analyzed, together with density, temperature, and temperature ratio fields. Finally, the presence of a low fraction of quasielastic impurities is shown to determine a sharp transition between convective and nonconvective steady states.

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