Casimir-like effect on a granular pile

R.J. Wijngaarden, Y. Y. Villanueva, D.V. Denisov, S. de Man

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We investigate experimentally a Casimir-like effect in a three-dimensional pile of rice, which has a power-law avalanche size distribution. We observe the change in distance between two Plexiglas sheets placed on the pile parallel to each other and parallel to the mean avalanche flow direction, while rice grains are continuously and uniformly falling on top of the pile. The resulting avalanches are fluctuations, confinement of which is found to drive the two plates together. During 25-h experimental runs, for initial intersheet distances ranging from 20.0 to 90.0 mm we observe changes in the range from 6.0 mm to less than 1.0 mm. A similar distance dependence is obtained from a simple analytical model. © 2010 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number041303
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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