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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2013 Dec;88(6):062204. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

Collision dynamics of particle clusters in a two-dimensional granular gas.

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James Franck Institute, Enrico Fermi Institute and Department of Physics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


In a granular gas, inelastic collisions produce an instability in which the constituent particles cluster heterogeneously. These clusters then interact with each other, further decreasing their kinetic energy. We report experiments of the free collisions of dense clusters of particles in a two-dimensional geometry. The particles are composed of solid CO(2), which float nearly frictionlessly on a hot surface due to sublimated vapor. After two dense clusters of ≈100 particles collide, there are two distinct stages of evolution. First, the translational kinetic energy rapidly decreases by over 90% as a "jamming front" sweeps across each cluster. Subsequently, the kinetic energy decreases more slowly as the particles approach the container boundaries. In this regime, the measured velocity distributions are non-Gaussian with long tails. Finally, we compare our experiments to computer simulations of colliding, two-dimensional, granular clusters composed of circular, viscoelastic particles with friction.

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