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Granular gas in weightlessness: The limit case of very low densities of non interacting spheres

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Experiments on non interacting balls in a vibrated box are reported. In a first experiment with an electromagnetic vibrator on earth or in board of Airbus A300 of CNES, the 1-ball dynamics exhibit little transverse motion and an intermittent quasi periodic motion along the direction parallel to the vibration. This behaviour proves a significant reduction of the phase space dimension of this billiard-like system from 11- d to 3- d or 1- d. It is caused by dissipation, which generates non ergodic dynamics. This experiment exemplifies the coupling between translation and rotation degrees of freedom during the collisions with the walls, due to solid friction at contacts. This eliminates ball rotation and freezes transverse velocity fluctuations. This trend is confirmed by 3d simulations with JJ Moreau discrete element code. A two-ball experiment performed under zero-g conditions in the Maxus 5 flight confirms the trend; the quasi-periodicity is found much greater, which is probably due to an improvement of experimental conditions. The two balls are not in perfect synchronisation showing the effect of small random noise; but the particles has never collided. This is then the normal dynamics of a gas of non-interacting dilute spherical grains in a vibrated container.

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Correspondence to P. Evesque or F. Palencia or C. Lecoutre-Chabot or D. Beysens or Y. Garrabos.

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Evesque, P., Palencia, F., Lecoutre-Chabot, C. et al. Granular gas in weightlessness: The limit case of very low densities of non interacting spheres. Microgravity sci. Technol. 16, 280–284 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02945991

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  • Transverse Motion
  • Parabolic Flight
  • Ball Speed
  • Restitution Coefficient
  • Interact Sphere