Patterns and collective behavior in granular media: Theoretical concepts

Igor S. Aranson, Lev S. Tsimring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

698 Scopus citations


Granular materials are ubiquitous in our daily lives. While they have been the subject of intensive engineering research for centuries, in the last two decades granular matter has attracted significant attention from physicists. Yet despite major efforts by many groups, the theoretical description of granular systems remains largely a plethora of different, often contradictory concepts and approaches. Various theoretical models have emerged for describing the onset of collective behavior and pattern formation in granular matter. This review surveys a number of situations in which nontrivial patterns emerge in granular systems, elucidates important distinctions between these phenomena and similar ones occurring in continuum fluids, and describes general principles and models of pattern formation in complex systems that have been successfully applied to granular systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-692
Number of pages52
JournalReviews of Modern Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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