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The motion of a finite mass of granular material down a rough incline. (English) Zbl 0659.76044
The present paper describes an initial investigation which considers the idealized problem of a finite mass of material released from rest on a rough inclined plane. The granular mass is treated as a frictional Coulomb-like continuum with a Coulomb-like basal friction law. Depth- averaged equations of motion are derived; they bear a superficial resemblance to the nonlinear shallow-water wave equations. Two similarity solutions are found for the motion. They both are of surprisingly simple analytical form and show a rather unanticipated behaviour. One has the form of a pile of granular material in the shape of a parabolic cap and the other has the form of an M-wave with vertical faces at the leading and trailing edges. The linear stability of the similarity solutions is studied. A restricted stability analysis, in which the spread is left unperturbed shows them to be stable, suggesting that mathematically both are possible asymptotic wave forms. Two numerical finite-difference schemes, one of Lagrangian, the other of Eulerian type, are presented. While the Eulerian technique is able to reproduce the M-wave similarity solution, it appears to give spurious results for more general initial conditions and the Lagrangian technique is best suited for the present problem.

MSC:
74E20 Granularity
86A40 Glaciology
76T25 Granular flows
76D99 Incompressible viscous fluids
76M99 Basic methods in fluid mechanics
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