Surface depression with double-angle geometry during the discharge of grains from a silo
AbstractWhen rough grains in loose packing conditions are discharged from a silo, a conical depression with a single slope is formed at the surface. We observed that the increase of volume fraction generates a more complex depression, characterized by two angles of discharge: one at the bottom similar to the angle of repose and a considerably larger upper angle. The change in slope appears at the boundary between a dense stagnant region at the periphery and the central flowing channel formed over the aperture. Since the material in the latter zone is always fluidized, the flow rate is unaffected by the initial packing of the bed. On the other hand, the contrast between both angles is markedly smaller when smooth particles of the same size and density are used, which reveals that high packing fraction and friction must combine to produce the observed geometry. Our results show that the surface profile helps to identify by simple visual inspection the packing conditions of a granular bed, being useful to prevent undesirable collapses during silo discharge in industry.