Publication by LPENSL on Nature Communications on April 31, 2021.
A pile of grains, even when at rest in a silo, can display fascinating properties. One of the most celebrated is the Janssen effect, named after the pioneering engineer who explained the pressure saturation at the bottom of a container filled with corn. This surprising behavior arises because of frictional interactions between the grains through a disordered network of contacts, and the vessel lateral walls, which partially support the weight of the column, decreasing its apparent mass. Here, we demonstrate control over frictional interactions using ferromagnetic grains and an external magnetic field. We show that the anisotropic pairwise interactions between magnetized grains result in a radial force along the walls, whose amplitude and direction is fully determined by the applied magnetic field. Such magnetic Janssen effect allows for the fine tuning of the granular column apparent mass. Our findings pave the way towards the design of functional jammed materials in confined geometries, via a further control of both their static and dynamic properties.
Source: . L. Thorens, K. J. Måløy, M. Bourgoin & S. Santucci. Nature Communications, volume 12, Article n° 2486 (2021).