Royal Society Publishing

The Surface Statistics of a Granular Aggregate

S. F. Edwards , D. R. Wilkinson


The problem of the surface fluctuations in a settled granular material is posed. A simple model is given which describes the process by which a particle settles and comes to rest on the existing surface of the packing and from this a set of Langevin equations for the Fourier modes of the surface are derived. These equations imply that the Fourier amplitudes behave like the velocities of a set of independent Brownian particles. We show that this results in logarithmically divergent surface fluctuations if the flux of particles onto the surface is random, the divergence being removed by a more accurate description of the settling material, for example by having the granules fall through a sieve.

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