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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2009 Dec;80(6 Pt 1):061302. Epub 2009 Dec 9.

Diffusive and subdiffusive axial transport of granular material in rotating mixers.

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Institute of Experimental Physics, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Universitätsplatz 2, D-39106 Magdeburg, Germany.


The segregation of granular mixtures in rotating cylinders into axial bands is not well understood so far. Abnormal diffusion of the grains has been proposed to play an important role in that process. We measure axial diffusion in binary mixtures, completely embedded in water, by means of nuclear magnetic imaging (magnetic resonance imaging). It is found that the small size particles in a radially segregated structure undergo normal (Fickian) axial diffusion, whereas an initial pulse of the large species shows subdiffusive behavior. An interpretation within a model for the particle dynamics is given. The diffusion of small particles occurs in the axial kernel, whereas particles of the large species migrate on the free surface of the granular bed.

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