Subdiffusive axial transport of granular materials in a long drum mixer

Zeina S. Khan, Stephen W. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Granular mixtures segregate radially by size when tumbled in a partially filled horizontal drum. The smaller component moves toward the axis of rotation and forms a buried core, which then splits into axial bands. Models have generally assumed that the axial segregation is opposed by diffusion. Using narrow pulses of the smaller component as initial conditions, we have characterized axial transport in the core. We find that the axial advance of the segregated core is well described by a self-similar concentration profile whose width scales as tα, with α ∼ 0.3 < 1/2. Thus, the process is subdiffusive rather than diffusive as previously assumed. We compare our results to two one-dimensional model equations which contain self-similarity and subdiffusion: a linear fractional diffusion model and the nonlinear porous medium equation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number048002
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 4 2005


Dive into the research topics of 'Subdiffusive axial transport of granular materials in a long drum mixer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this