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Authors: Cagnoli, B.* 
Piersanti, A.* 
Title: Grain size and flow volume effects on granular flow mobility in numerical simulations: 3-D discrete element modeling of flows of angular rock fragments.
Issue Date: 2015
Series/Report no.: 4/120 (2015)
DOI: 10.1002/2014JB011729
Keywords: Pyroclastic Flows
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.08. Volcanic risk 
Abstract: The results of three-dimensional discrete element modeling (DEM) presented in this paper confirm the grain size and flow volume effects on granular flow mobility that were observed in laboratory experiments where batches of granular material traveled down a curved chute. Our numerical simulations are able to predict the correct relative mobility of the granular flows because they take into account particle interactions and, thus, the energy dissipated by the flows. The results illustrated here are obtained without prior fine tuning of the parameter values to get the desired output. The grain size and flow volume effects can be expressed by a linear relationship between scaling parameters where the finer the grain size or the smaller the flow volume, the more mobile the centre of mass of the granular flows. The numerical simulations reveal also the effect of the initial compaction of the granular masses before release. The larger the initial compaction, the more mobile the centre of mass of the granular flows. Both grain size effect and compaction effect are explained by different particle agitations per unit of flow mass that cause different energy dissipations per unit of travel distance. The volume effect is explained by the backward accretion of the deposits that occurs wherever there is a change of slope (either gradual or abrupt). Our results are relevant for the understanding of the travel and deposition mechanisms of geophysical flows such as rock avalanches and pyroclastic flows.
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