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Granular Flows and Martian Gullies

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Jim
McElwaine
Dense granular flows occur frequently in both nature and industry, yet, despite their prevalence, they remain poorly understood. Most
theories are empirically based and are unreliable when applied outside their narrow range of validity. For terrestrial phenomena this is only an inconvenience as more detailed experiments always be performed. For extra-terrestrial phemomena however this is largely impossible and likely to remain so. For this reason it is essential to develop physically based theories that can be applied throughout the solar sytems where gravity, air pressure and temperature may have very different values. I report on chute and drum experiments of granular flows and explain how these observations are applicable in interpreting observations. As a case study I focus on the flow of
carbon dioxide blocks down Martian dunes.

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