Granes in pills
A plate shearing an interstitial granular medium and driven by an always ongoing spring feels less fricion when only few layers are present. Adding more layers results in an increase of friction,
nevertheless the plate slides more often. The ease of slipping is not determined by friction alone?
Nonlinear response in out-of-equilibrium systems can show counter-intuitive behaviors, for instance cases where the force increases but the response decreases (negative differential mobility). Sometimes the response crosses zero and changes sign with respect to the force (absolute negative mobility). In classical physics this is usually observed within complicate models with obstacles and traps. We have demonstrated such complex non-linear phenomena in a much simpler and realistic system, ie.… Read the rest
Convection in molecular fluids is provided by the competition between gravity and an adverse temperature gradient (two thermostats, the hotter below, the colder above). In a granular gas it can be achieved by a single thermostat at the base, for instance a vibrating piston. Energy dissipation provides the “second thermostat” which spontaneously forms gradient and may stabilize a convective state. Here we have demonstrated that even the simple dissipation in the collision between grains and lateral walls is sufficient to trigger convection, without any critical threshold.… Read the rest
Living matter at the microscale, many kinds of cells, bacteria and other organisms, self-propel through a viscous fluid which acts as a thermal bath, dissipating the energy provided by the internal motor (pseudopoda, flagella, etc.). This energetic balance is ruled by non-equilibrium thermodynamics, as for heat engines. In this theoretical work we have given a mesoscopic description of this process, which allows to measure a local heat dissipation and a local non-equilibrium temperature (associated to self-propulsion and to the forces driving the active particle) which together provide a definition of active entropy production which satisfies the Clausius inequality.… Read the rest
We have reproduced the self propulsion of bacteria and animals with 3d-printed “active granular particles”. Those small artificial insects walk on a rough vibrated plate because of a subtle interplay between material elastic properties and solid-on-solid friction. The advantage of 3d-printed objects is in the possibility to tune certain features (here the inclination of “legs”) in order to verify theoretical predictions and establish an optimal shape for running.… Read the rest
Caging is the typical microscopic phenomenon that “traps” molecules in a liquid at low temperature. The usual Brownian Motion of a tracer experiences a temporary “dynamical arrest” which eventually is broken restoring normal diffusion. In this work we have shown that at intermediate densities and temperature the same phenomenon occurs in granular liquids. At large densities and lower temperatures the late normal diffusion is replaced with superdiffusion.… Read the rest
A Brownian Ratchet is a small engine which is conceived to extract work from molecular fluctuations. Examples of Brownian Ratchets occur in the cell, see for instance this nice movie about kinesin.
As well explained by Richard Feynmann, a Brownian Ratchet cannot perform its own task in an equilibrium environment, i.e. the fluctuations feeding energy to the ratchet cannot originate from a single thermal bath, in accordance with the second principle of thermodynamics.… Read the rest
A random laser is usually obtained pumping light through a disordered medium. The dynamics of light through a heterogeneous configuration of scatterers and cavities provides emitted spectra with random and fluctuating peaks which have a wide range of applications and are nowadays subject to an intense theoretical activity. In this work we have added a new flavour to the idea of random lasers, replacing the usually static disordered medium with a vibrofluidized granular material.… Read the rest