From the granular Leidenfrost state to buoyancy-driven convection

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Grains inside a vertically vibrated box undergo a transition from a density-inverted and horizontally homogeneous state, referred to as the granular Leidenfrost state, to a buoyancy-driven convective state. We perform a simulational study of the precursors of such a transition and quantify their dynamics as the bed of grains is progressively fluidized. The transition is preceded by transient convective states, which increase their correlation time as the transition point is approached. Increasingly correlated convective flows lead to density fluctuations, as quantified by the structure factor, that also shows critical behavior near the transition point. The amplitude of the modulations in the vertical velocity field are seen to be best described by a quintic supercritical amplitude equation with an additive noise term. The validity of such an amplitude equation, and previously observed collective semiperiodic oscillations of the bed of grains, suggests a new interpretation of the transition analogous to a coupled chain of vertically vibrated damped oscillators. Increasing the size of the container shows metastability of convective states, as well as an overall invariant critical behavior close to the transition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number042202
Pages (from-to)042202-
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical review E: Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • METIS-312771
  • EWI-26822
  • IR-97852


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