Spontaneous jamming and unjamming in a hopper with multiple exit orifices

A Kunte and P Doshi and AV Orpe, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 90, 020201 (2014).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.90.020201

We show that the flow of granular material inside a two-dimensional flat bottomed hopper is altered significantly by having more than one exit orifice. For hoppers with small orifice widths, intermittent flow through one orifice enables the resumption of flow through the adjacent jammed orifice, thus displaying a sequence of jamming and unjamming events. Using discrete element simulations, we show that the total amount of granular material (i.e., avalanche size) emanating from all the orifices combined can be enhanced by about an order of magnitude difference by simply adjusting the interorifice distance. The unjamming is driven primarily by fluctuations alone when the interorifice distance is large, but when the orifices are brought close enough, the fluctuations along with the mean flow cause the flow to unjam.

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