How do grains flow out of an emptying silo? And what about sugar poured out by a pastry chef? Like liquids (2), grains can flow, but there is no attraction between the grains to trigger cohesion. However, by studying the waves that form and propagate on the surface of flowing sand, the physicists have observed telltale signs of cohesion.
Like the very small ripples that form on the surface of water, these waves point to the existence of a “taut elastic skin” on the surface of volumes of grain.This “skin” on flowing grain is its surface tension.
By measuring wave propagation speed, the researchers have shown that this cohesion effect is a result of a decrease in air pressure between flowing grains. Therefore, when a mass of grains flows, there is a depressed area at the middle of the flow, which pulls straying grains back towards the mass. These results should improve our understanding of the details of what happens in grain flows –materials which are common, but not yet well understood.
(1) CPMOH(2) The surface of a liquid is similar to an elastic membrane under
Hamburg and Kiel researchers observe spontaneous occurrence of skyrmions in atomically thin cobalt films
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Building an atomic-scale vacuum trap for spin-polarized electrons
23.08.2019 | University of Hamburg Sonderforschungsbereich 668
Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.
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Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.
Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...
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