Magneto-vibratory separation of glass and bronze granular mixtures immersed in a paramagnetic liquid

P. López-Alcaraz, A.T. Catherall, R.J.A. Hill, M.C. Leaper, Michael R. Swift, P.J. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A fluid-immersed granular mixture may spontaneously separate when subjected to vertical vibration, separation occurring when the ratio of particle inertia to fluid drag is sufficiently different between the component species of the mixture. Here, we describe how fluid-driven separation is influenced by magneto-Archimedes buoyancy, the additional buoyancy force experienced by a body immersed in a paramagnetic fluid when a strong inhomogeneous magnetic field is applied. In our experiments glass and bronze mixtures immersed in paramagnetic aqueous solutions of MnCl2 have been subjected to sinusoidal vertical vibration. In the absence of a magnetic field the separation is similar to that observed when the interstitial fluid is water. However, at modest applied magnetic fields, magneto-Archimedes buoyancy may balance the inertia/fluid-drag separation mechanism, or it may dominate the separation process. We identify the vibratory and magnetic conditions for four granular configurations, each having distinctive granular convection. Abrupt transitions between these states occur at well-defined values of the magnetic and vibrational parameters. In order to gain insight into the dynamics of the separation process we use computer simulations based on solutions of the Navier-Stokes' equations. The simulations reproduce the experimental results revealing the important role of convection and gap formation in the stability of the different states.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Physical Journal E
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007


  • magnetics
  • granular flow
  • mixing
  • segregation
  • stratification


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