Helical locomotion in a granular medium by a 'sand robot'

Moving within granular media such as sand is a trick that occurs not only in science-fiction movies. The sandfish lizard, which lives in the desert, is also able to perform this task. In order to do so, this lizard behaves ...

Study reveals mysterious equality with which grains pack it in

At the moment they come together, the individual grains in materials like sand and snow appear to have exactly the same probability of combining into any one of their many billions of possible arrangements, researchers have ...

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

Dipping a tube into a container filled with water will make the water rise in the tube. This phenomenon is called liquid capillarity. It is responsible for many natural and technical processes, for example the water absorption ...

Feeling the force between sand grains

For the first time, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have measured how forces move through 3D granular materials, determining how this important class of materials might pack and behave in processes ...

Sandcastles of star-shaped motes are stable structures

Duke graduate student Yuchen Zhao has spent the last year studying such "sandcastles of stars"—towers crafted from hundreds of six-armed stars or "hexapods" which bear a remarkable resemblance to the jacks you might have ...

Hydrodynamics approaches to granular matter

Sand, rocks, grains, salt or sugar are what physicists call granular media. A better understanding of granular media is important - particularly when mixed with water and air, as it forms the foundations of houses and off-shore ...

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