Granular Convection Observed by Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Science  17 Mar 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5204, pp. 1632-1634
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5204.1632


Vibrations in a granular material can spontaneously produce convection rolls reminiscent of those seen in fluids. Magnetic resonance imaging provides a sensitive and noninvasive probe for the detection of these convection currents, which have otherwise been difficult to observe. A magnetic resonance imaging study of convection in a column of poppy seeds yielded data about the detailed shape of the convection rolls and the depth dependence of the convection velocity. The velocity was found to decrease exponentially with depth; a simple model for this behavior is presented here.

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