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The Fluid Systems Engineering and Management Blog

by Swagelok Northern California

New Research Demonstrates Why Soft Particles Won't Clog Up

by Jeff Hopkins, on 7/27/18 1:00 PM

Physicists show why it's hard to clog a drain with soft particles

Physicists at Emory University have shown that when soft particles flow through an opening, unlike hard particles, they rarely clog. Hard particles will often form an arch across the opening, after which pressure stabilizes behind the arch and forms a clog, but soft particles, simply squish together under pressure and the arch breaks.

Relatively little is known about the movement of soft particles, but the application of this observation is very broad, from traffic jams to the flow of bacteria through blood vessels. Related research suggests soft particles could be added to a fluid interface to act as a surface stabilizer in the food, oil, or cosmetic industries. 

This Emory University eScience Commons article gives more detail →

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