Victor Hugo suggested the possibility that patterns created by the movement of grains of sand are in no small part responsible for the shape and feel of the natural world we live in. Certainly, granular materials, of which sand is but one example, are ubiquitous in our daily lives. They play an important role in industries, such as mining, agriculture and construction. They also are important in geological processes, such as landslides and erosion and, on a larger scale, plate tectonics, which determine much of Earth's morphology. Practically everything we eat started out in a granular form and the clutter on our desks is often so close to the angle of repose that a chance perturbation can create an avalanche onto the floor.
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April 01 1996
The Physics of Granular Materials
The rich dynamics of these ubiquitous and important materials are just beginning to be understood. Now there are suggestions that processes taking place on astrophysical scales may mirror those occurring in a pile of sand.
Heinrich M. Jaeger;
Sidney R. Nagel;
Physics Today 49 (4), 32–38 (1996);
Heinrich M. Jaeger, Sidney R. Nagel, Robert P. Behringer; The Physics of Granular Materials. Physics Today 1 April 1996; 49 (4): 32–38. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.881494
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