Unlike most fluids, granular materials include coexisting solid, liquid or gaseous regions, which produce a rich variety of complex flows. Dense flows down inclines preserve this complexity but remain simple enough for detailed analysis. In this review we survey recent advances in this rapidly evolving area of granular flow, with the aim of providing an organized, synthetic review of phenomena and a characterization of the state of understanding. The perspective that we adopt is influenced by the hope of obtaining a theory for dense, inclined flows that is based on assumptions that can be tested in physical experiments and numerical simulations, and that uses input parameters that can be independently measured. We focus on dense granular flows over three kinds of inclined surfaces: flat-frictional, bumpy-frictional and erodible. The wealth of information generated by experiments and numerical simulations for these flows has led to meaningful tests of relatively simple existing theories.
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We thank Daniel Bideau, Gérard Le Caër, Luc Oger, Nathalie Thomas, and our colleagues in the Groupement de Recherche Milieux Divises (GDR MiDi) for valuable discussions. We thank James T. Jenkins for contributing several paragraphs on merits of the kinetic theory, and Namiko Mitarai for providing data shown in Fig. 7. The preparation of this review was assisted by financial support from the GDR MiDi and US–France Cooperative Research grant INT-0233212. Our research in dense, inclined flows is sponsored by the French Ministry of Education and Research (ACI PCN (INSU): Écoulements gravitaires: modélisation des processus), the CNRS (PNRN: Programme National des Risques Naturels, écoulements gravitaires), and NASA grants NCC3-468, NAG3-2705, NCC3-797 and NAG3-2353.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Delannay, R., Louge, M., Richard, P. et al. Towards a theoretical picture of dense granular flows down inclines. Nature Mater 6, 99–108 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat1813
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