Clogging of granular materials in narrow vertical pipes discharged at constant velocity
We report experimental results for pipe flow of granular materials discharged through vertical narrow tubes by means of a conveyor belt placed at the bottom. When the diameter of the tube is not much larger than the particle size, the system clogs due to the development of hanging arches that are able to support the weight of the grains above them. We find that the time it takes to develop a stable clog decays exponentially, which is compatible with a clogging probability that remains constant during the discharge. From this, and making an analogy with the discharge of silos, we introduce the avalanche size, measured in terms of the number of discharged tubes before the system clogs. The mean avalanche size is found to increase as the tube diameter is enlarged, the velocity of the conveyor belt grows, and the tube tilt deviates from the vertical. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.