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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2008 Feb;77(2 Pt 1):021301. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

Granular labyrinth structures in confined geometries.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. hak@fys.uio.no

Abstract

Pattern forming processes are abundant in nature. Here, we report on a particular pattern forming process. Upon withdrawal of fluid from a particle-fluid dispersion in a Hele-Shaw cell, the particles are shown to be left behind in intriguing mazelike patterns. The particles, initially being uniformly spread out in a disc, are slowly pulled inwards and together by capillary and pressure forces. Invading air forms branching fingers, whereas the particles are compiled into comparably narrow branches. These branches are connected in a treelike structure, taking the form of a maze. The characteristic length scale within the structure is found to decrease with the volume fraction of the particles and increase with the plate separation in the Hele-Shaw cell. We present a simulator designed to simulate this phenomenon, which reproduces qualitatively and quantitatively the experiments, as well as a theory that can predict the observed wavelengths.

PMID:
18352016
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevE.77.021301

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