Moon patterns, sun patterns, and wave breaking in rotating granular mixtures

K. M. Hill, G. Gioia, D. Amaravadi, C. Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Granular materials, such as powders and sand, tend to segregate due to differences in particle properties. When a cylindrical drum is partially filled with particles of different sizes and rotated about its axis, this leads to radial segregation patterns in which the smaller particles concentrate in a radial core near the axis, and the larger particles near the outside walls of the drum. Under certain conditions, undulations in the radial core of smaller particles grow into radial stripes that extend toward the outer walls of the drum in a manner somewhat reminiscent of viscous fingering. The patterns are strongly dependent on the fill level and rotation speed of the drum. These observations can be explained by two spatially disjoint mechanisms: (1) a wave-breaking mechanism that promotes the growth of the stripes and (2) a filtering mechanism that limits the growth of stripes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


  • Granular materials
  • Radial segregation patterns
  • Viscous fingering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Moon patterns, sun patterns, and wave breaking in rotating granular mixtures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this