Liquid-Gas-Like Phase Transition in Sand Flow Under Microgravity

Yu Huang (Lead / Corresponding author), Chongqiang Zhu, Xiang Xiang, Wuwei Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In previous studies of granular flow, it has been found that gravity plays a compacting role, causing convection and stratification by density. However, there is a lack of research and analysis of the characteristics of different particles’ motion under normal gravity contrary to microgravity. In this paper, we conduct model experiments on sand flow using a model test system based on a drop tower under microgravity, within which the characteristics and development processes of granular flow under microgravity are captured by high-speed cameras. The configurations of granular flow are simulated using a modified MPS (moving particle simulation), which is a mesh-free, pure Lagrangian method. Moreover, liquid-gas-like phase transitions in the sand flow under microgravity, including the transitions to “escaped”, “jumping”, and “scattered” particles are highlighted, and their effects on the weakening of shear resistance, enhancement of fluidization, and changes in particle-wall and particle-particle contact mode are analyzed. This study could help explain the surface geology evolution of small solar bodies and elucidate the nature of granular interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-170
Number of pages16
JournalMicrogravity Science and Technology
Issue number3
Early online date2 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2015


  • Geotechnical particles
  • Granular flow
  • Microgravity
  • Model test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Liquid-Gas-Like Phase Transition in Sand Flow Under Microgravity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this