Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Mark W. Richman, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Nikolaos A. Gatsonis, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

David J. Olinger, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Arshad Kudrolli, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Michael A. Demetriou, Committee Member




The purpose of this work is to develop a continuum theory that may be used to predict the effects of anisotropic boundary vibrations on loose granular assemblies. In order to do so, we extend statistical averaging techniques employed in the kinetic theory to derive an anisotropic flow theory for rapid, dense flows of identical, inelastic spheres. The theory is anisotropic in the sense that it treats the full second moment of velocity fluctuations, rather than only its isotropic piece, as a mean field to be determined. In this manner, the theory can, for example, predict granular temperatures that are different in different directions. The flow theory consists of balance equations for mass, momentum, and full second moment of velocity fluctuations, as well as constitutive relations for the pressure tensor, the flux of second moment, and the source of second moment. The averaging procedure employed in deriving the constitutive relations is based on a Maxwellian that is perturbed due to the presence of a deviatoric second and full third moment of velocity fluctuations. Because the theory is anisotropic, it can predict the normal stress differences observed in granular shear flows, as well as the evolution to isotropy in an assembly with granular temperatures that are initially highly anisotropic. In order to complement the theory, we employ similar statistical techniques to derive boundary conditions that ensure that the flux of momentum as well as the flux of second moment are balanced at the vibrating boundary. The bumps are hemispheres arranged in regular arrays, and the fluctuating boundary motion is described by an anisotropic Maxwellian distribution function. The bumpiness of the surface may be adjusted by changing the size of the hemispheres, the spacing between the hemispheres in two separate array-directions, and the angle between the two directions. Statistical averaging consistent with the constitutive theory yields the rates at which momentum and full second moment are transferred to the flow. In order to present results in a form that is easy to interpret physically, the statistical parameters that describe the boundary fluctuations are related in a plausible manner to amplitudes and frequencies of sinusoidal vibrations that may differ in three mutually perpendicular directions, and to phase angles that may be adjusted between the three directions of vibration. The focus of the results presented here is on the steady response of unconfined granular assemblies that are thermalized and driven by horizontal bumpy vibrating boundaries. In a first detailed study of the effects of the boundary geometry and boundary motion on the overall response of the assemblies, the anisotropic theory is reduced to a more familiar isotropic form. The resulting theory predicts the manner in which the profiles of isotropic granular temperature and solid volume fraction as well as the uniform velocity and corresponding flow rate vary with spacings between the bumps, angle of the bump-array, energy of vibration, direction of vibration, and phase angles of the vibration. In a second study, we solve the corresponding, but more elaborate, boundary value problem for anisotropic flows induced by anisotropic boundary vibrations. The main focus in presenting these results is on the differences between granular temperatures in three perpendicular directions normal and tangential to the vibrating surface, and how each is affected by the bumpiness of the boundary and the direction of the vibration. In each case, we calculate the corresponding nonuniform velocity profile, solid volume fraction profile, and mass flow rate.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





granular temperatures, velocity profiles, vibrofluidized, vibrated, granular flows