Impact on Granular Beds

Devaraj van der Meer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


The impact of an object on a granular solid is an ubiquitous phenomenon in nature, the scale of which ranges from the impact of a raindrop onto sand all the way to that of a large asteroid on a planet. Despite the obvious relevance of these impact events, the study of the underlying physics mechanisms that guide them is relatively young, with most work concentrated in the past decade. Upon impact, an object starts to interact with a granular bed and experiences a drag force from the sand. This ultimately leads to phenomena such as crater formation and the creation of a transient cavity that upon collapse may cause a jet to appear from above the surface of the sand. This review provides an overview of research that targets these phenomena, from the perspective of the analogous but markedly different impact of an object on a liquid. It successively addresses the drag an object experiences inside a granular bed, the expansion and collapse of the cavity created by the object leading to the formation of a jet, and the remarkable role played by the air that resides within the pores between the grains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-484
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual review of fluid mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2017


  • Crater
  • Drag
  • Granular flow
  • Granular solid
  • Impact
  • Interstitial fluid
  • Jet
  • Splash
  • 2023 OA procedure

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