Influence of gravity on a granular Maxwell’s demon experiment
Department of Physics, Konstanz University, P.O. Box 688, 78457, Konstanz, Germany
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Revised: 26 September 2008
Published online: 12 December 2008
In the usual description of the granular Maxwell’s demon experiment, where phase separation occurs due to an instability in the densities, the control parameter scales linearly with gravity. In this paper we investigate this scaling experimentally using the properties of diamagnetic particles in strong magnetic-field gradients to reduce and even balance gravitation. We find that phase separation occurs even at vanishingly small gravitational accelerations as is predicted by other theories. This is due to the fact that granular samples tend to form clusters as a result of the inelasticity of the particle collisions. Combining the heat balance of the driven granular gas with the cooling rate and thus the appearance of clustering, we are able to describe the crossover between the limiting cases.
PACS: 45.70.-n Granular systems – / 05.90.+m Other topics in statistical physics, thermodynamics, and nonlinear dynamical systems – / 51.10.+y Kinetic and transport theory of gases –
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2009