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Authors: Del Bello, E.* 
Taddeucci, J.* 
Scarlato, P.* 
Giacalone, E.* 
Cesaroni, C.* 
Title: Experimental investigation of the aggregation-disaggregation of colliding volcanic ash particles in turbulent, low-humidity suspensions
Issue Date: 24-Feb-2015
Series/Report no.: /42 (2015)
DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062292
Keywords: volcanic ash
experimental modeling
volcanic plumes
aggregation processes
colliding particles
sticking rate
Subject Classification01. Atmosphere::01.01. Atmosphere::01.01.07. Volcanic effects 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.02. Experimental volcanism 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
05. General::05.02. Data dissemination::05.02.03. Volcanic eruptions 
Abstract: We present the results of laboratory experiments on the aggregation and disaggregation of colliding volcanic ash particles. Ash particles of different composition and size <90 µm were held in turbulent suspension and filmed in high speed while colliding, aggregating, and disaggregating, forming a growing layer of electrostatically bound particles along a vertical plate. At room conditions and regardless of composition, 60–80% of the colliding particles smaller than 32 µm remained aggregated. In contrast, aggregation of particles larger than 63 µm was negligible, and, when a layer formed, periods when disaggregation (mainly by collisions or drag) exceeded aggregation occurred twice as frequently than for smaller particles. An empirical relationship linking the aggregation index, i.e., the effective fraction of aggregated particles surviving disaggregation, to the mean particle collision kinetic energy is provided. Our results have potential implications on the dynamics of volcanic plumes and ash mobility in the environment.
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