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A granular material is a conglomeration of discrete solid, macroscopic particles characterized by a loss of energy whenever the particles interact (the most common example would be friction when grains collide).[1] The constituents that compose granular material are large enough such that they are not subject to thermal motion fluctuations. Thus, the lower size limit for grains in granular material is about 1 μm. On the upper size limit, the physics of granular materials may be applied to ice floes where the individual grains are icebergs and to asteroid belts of the Solar System with individual grains being asteroids.

Some examples of granular materials are snow, nuts, coal, sand, rice, coffee, corn flakes, fertilizer, and bearing balls. Research into granular materials is thus directly applicable and goes back at least to Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, whose law of friction was originally stated for granular materials.[2] Granular materials are commercially important in applications as diverse as pharmaceutical industry, agriculture, and energy production.

Powders are a special class of granular material due to their small particle size, which makes them more cohesive and more easily suspended in a gas.

The soldier/physicist Brigadier Ralph Alger Bagnold was an early pioneer of the physics of granular matter and whose book The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes[3] remains an important reference to this day. According to material scientist Patrick Richard, "Granular materials are ubiquitous in nature and are the second-most manipulated material in industry (the first one is water)".[4]

In some sense, granular materials do not constitute a single phase of matter but have characteristics reminiscent of solids, liquids, or gases depending on the average energy per grain. However, in each of these states, granular materials also exhibit properties that are unique.

Granular materials also exhibit a wide range of pattern forming behaviors when excited (e.g. vibrated or allowed to flow). As such granular materials under excitation can be thought of as an example of a complex system.

Granulation is the act or process in which primary powder particles are made to adhere to form larger, multiparticle entities called granules.

Computational modeling of granular materials

Several methods are available for modeling of

Granulation is the act or process in which primary powder particles are made to adhere to form larger, multiparticle entities called granules.

Computational modeling of granular materials

Several methods are available for modeling of granular materials. Most of these methods consist of the statistical methods by which various statistical properties, derived from either point data or an image, are extracted and used to generate stochastic models of the granular medium. A recent and comprehensive review of such methods is available in Tahmasebi and other (2017).[12] Another alternative for building a pack of granular particles that recently has been presented is based on the level-set algorithm by which the real shape of the particle can be captured and reproduced through the extracted statistics for particles' morphology.[13]

See also