Erosive granular avalanches: A cross confrontation between theory and experiment

Eric Clément, Florent Malloggi, Bruno Andreotti, Igor S. Aranson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Results on two laboratory scale avalanches experiments taking place both in the air and under-water, are presented. In both cases a family of solitary erosion/deposition waves are observed. At higher inclination angles, we show the existence of a long wavelength transverse instability followed by a coarsening and the onset of a fingering pattern. While the experiments strongly differ by the spatial and time scales, the agreement between the stability diagram, the wavelengths selection and the avalanche morphology suggest a common erosion/deposition scenario. These experiments are studied theoretically in the framework of the "partial fluidization" model of dense granular flows. This model identifies a family of propagating solitary waves displaying a behavior similar to the experimental observation. A primary cause for the transverse instability is related to the dependence of avalanche velocity on the granular mass trapped by the flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalGranular Matter
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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