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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2015 Dec;92(6):062817. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.92.062817. Epub 2015 Dec 15.

Experimental proof of faster-is-slower in systems of frictional particles flowing through constrictions.

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Departamento de Física, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Navarra, E-31080 Pamplona, Spain.
Departamento de Ingeniería Mecánica, Facultad Regional La Plata, Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Av. 60 Esq. 124 S/N, 1900 La Plata, Argentina.
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Av. Rivadavia 1917 (1033), C. A. de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Departamento de Construcción, Instalaciones y Estructuras, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Universidad de Navarra, E-31080 Pamplona, Spain.
Departamento de Patología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Zaragoza, Miguel Servet 177, 50013 Zaragoza, Spain.
Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires, 25 de Mayo 444, (1002) C. A. de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The "faster-is-slower" (FIS) effect was first predicted by computer simulations of the egress of pedestrians through a narrow exit [D. Helbing, I. J. Farkas, and T. Vicsek, Nature (London) 407, 487 (2000)]. FIS refers to the finding that, under certain conditions, an excess of the individuals' vigor in the attempt to exit causes a decrease in the flow rate. In general, this effect is identified by the appearance of a minimum when plotting the total evacuation time of a crowd as a function of the pedestrian desired velocity. Here, we experimentally show that the FIS effect indeed occurs in three different systems of discrete particles flowing through a constriction: (a) humans evacuating a room, (b) a herd of sheep entering a barn, and (c) grains flowing out a 2D hopper over a vibrated incline. This finding suggests that FIS is a universal phenomenon for active matter passing through a narrowing.

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