An instrument for studying granular media in low-gravity environment

S. Aumaître,1, 2 R. P. Behringer,3 A. Cazaubiel,4 E. Clément,5 J. Crassous,6 D. J. Durian,7 E. Falcon,4, a)
S. Fauve,8 D. Fischer,9 A. Garcimartin,10 Y. Garrabos,11 M. Hou,12 X. Jia,13 C. Lecoutre,11 S. Luding,14
D. Maza,10 M. Noirhomme,15 E. Opsomer,15, b) F. Palencia,11 T. Pöschel,16 J. Schockmel,15 M. Sperl,17
R. Stannarius,9 N. Vandewalle,15, c) and P. Yu14
1SPEC, DSM, CEA-Saclay, CNRS URA 2464, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
2Laboratoire de Physique, ENS Lyon, UMR-CNRS 5672, F-69007 Lyon, France
3Department of Physics, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0305, USA
4Université Paris Diderot, SPC, MSC, UMR 7057 CNRS, F-75013 Paris, France
5PMMH, ESPCI, UMR 7636 CNRS, F-75005 Paris, France
6Université Rennes 1, IPR, UMR 6251 CNRS, F-35042 Rennes, France
7University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA 19104-6396, USA
8Ecole Normale Supérieure, LPS, CNRS, UMR 8550, F-75005, Paris, France
9IEP, Otto von Guericke Universität, D-39106 Magdeburg, Germany
10DFMA, Universidad de Navarra, E-31080 Pamplona, Spain
11CNRS, ICMCB, Universite de Bordeaux, UMR 5026, F-33600 Pessac, France
12Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
13Institut Langevin, ESPCI Paris, PSL, CNRS, F-75005 Paris, France
14MSM, University of Twente, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
15GRASP, Institute of Physics B5a, University of Liege, B-4000 Liege, Belgium
16Friedrich-Alexander Universitat, IMS, D-91052 Erlangen, Germany
17Institut für Materialphysik im Weltraum, DLR, D-51170 Köln, Germany
a)E-mail:   b)E-mail:   c)E-mail:

Reference: Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 075103 (2018)


Abstract:  A new experimental facility has been designed and constructed to study driven granular media in a low-gravity environment. This versatile instrument, fully automatized, with a modular design based on several interchangeable experimental cells, allows us to investigate research topics ranging from dilute to dense regimes of granular media such as granular gas, segregation, convection, sound propagation, jamming, and rheology—all without the disturbance by gravitational stresses active on Earth. Here, we present the main parameters, protocols, and performance characteristics of the instrument. The current scientific objectives are then briefly described and, as a proof of concept, some first selected results obtained in low gravity during parabolic flight campaigns are presented.

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