Relation between self-organized criticality and grain aspect ratio in granular piles

D.V. Denisov, Y. Y. Villanueva, K. Lorincz-Nagy, S. May, R.J. Wijngaarden

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We investigate experimentally whether self-organized criticality (SOC) occurs in granular piles composed of different grains, namely, rice, lentils, quinoa, and mung beans. These four grains were selected to have different aspect ratios, from oblong to oblate. As a function of aspect ratio, we determined the growth (β) and roughness (α) exponents, the avalanche fractal dimension (D), the avalanche size distribution exponent (τ), the critical angle (γ), and its fluctuation. At superficial inspection, three types of grains seem to have power-law-distributed avalanches with a well-defined τ. However, only rice is truly SOC if we take three criteria into account: a power-law-shaped avalanche size distribution, finite size scaling, and a universal scaling relation relating characteristic exponents. We study SOC as a spatiotemporal fractal; in particular, we study the spatial structure of criticality from local observation of the slope angle. From the fluctuation of the slope angle we conclude that greater fluctuation (and thus bigger avalanches) happen in piles consisting of grains with larger aspect ratio. © 2012 American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number051309
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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