Transition from clogging to continuous flow in constricted particle suspensions

Mathieu Souzy*, Iker Zuriguel, Alvaro Marin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
187 Downloads (Pure)


When suspended particles are pushed by liquid flow through a constricted channel, they might either pass the bottleneck without trouble or encounter a permanent clog that will stop them forever. However, they may also flow intermittently with great sensitivity to the neck-to-particle size ratio D/d. In this Rapid Communication, we experimentally explore the limits of the intermittent regime for a dense suspension through a single bottleneck as a function of this parameter. To this end, we make use of high time- and space-resolution experiments to obtain the distributions of arrest times (T) between successive bursts, which display power-law tails (∝T^{-α}) with characteristic exponents. These exponents compare well with the ones found for as disparate situations as the evacuation of pedestrians from a room, the entry of a flock of sheep into a shed, or the discharge of particles from a silo. Nevertheless, the intrinsic properties of our system (i.e., channel geometry, driving and interaction forces, particle size distribution) seem to introduce a sharp transition from a clogged state (α≤2) to a continuous flow, where clogs do not develop at all. This contrasts with the results obtained in other systems where intermittent flow, with power-law exponents above two, were obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Article number060901
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical review. E
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020


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