Stability of gas channels in a dense suspension in the presence of obstacles

Raphaël Poryles, Germán Varas, Valérie Vidal

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1 Scopus citations


We investigate experimentally the influence of a fixed obstacle on gas rising in a dense suspension. Air is injected at a constant flow rate by a single nozzle at the bottom center of a Hele-Shaw cell. Without obstacles, previous works have shown that a fluidized zone is formed with a parabolic shape, with a central air channel and two granular convection rolls on its sides. Here, we quantify the influence of the obstacle's shape, size, and height on the location and dynamics of the central air channel. Different regimes are reported: the air channel can simply deviate (stable), or it can switch sides over time (unstable), leading to two signatures not only above the obstacle, but sometimes also below it. This feedback also influences the channel deviation when bypassing the obstacle. A wake of less or no motion is reported above the largest obstacles as well as the maximum probability of gas location, which can be interesting for practical applications. The existence of a critical height hc≃7 cm is discussed and compared with the existence of an air finger that develops from the injection nozzle and is stable in time. A dimensionless number describing the transition between air fingering and fracturing makes it possible to predict the channel's stability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number062905
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - 23 Jun 2017


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