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Authors: Cagnoli, B.* 
Romano, G. P.* 
Title: Effects of flow volume and grain size on mobility of dry granular flows of angular rock fragments: A functional relationship of scaling parameters
Issue Date: 2012
Series/Report no.: /117(2012)
DOI: 10.1029/2011JB008926
Keywords: pyroclastic flows
rock avalanches
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.02. Experimental volcanism 
Abstract: Flows of angular rock fragments are released down a concave upward chute in the laboratory to study their mobility. This mobility is measured as the reciprocal of the apparent coefficient of friction that is equal to the vertical drop of the centre of mass of the granular material divided by its horizontal distance of travel. Our experiments show that the finer the grain size (all the other features the same), the larger is the mobility of the centre of mass. We believe this to be due to the fact that in finer grain size flows there are less agitated particles per unit of flow mass so that these flows dissipate less energy per unit of travel distance. Our experiments show also that the larger the volume (all the other features the same), the larger is the apparent coefficient of friction. We believe this to be so because the frontal portion of a flow reaches the less steep part of a curved slope and stops before the rear portion preventing the rear portion and the centre of mass from travelling further downhill. This phenomenon (which is more prominent in larger volume flows whose rear and frontal ends are more distant) counteracts the decrease of energy dissipation per unit of flow mass, due to the decrease of particle agitation per unit of flow mass, that is expected when the volume of a flow increases (all the other features the same). Our analysis generates a functional relationship between the dimensionless apparent coefficient of friction and a scaling parameter whose numerator is equal to the mean grain size multiplied by the cube root of the deposit volume and whose denominator is the square of the channel width.
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