Collapse leads to clusters

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Researchers at the Institute of Multiscale Simulation of Particulate Systems and the Institute of Fluid Mechanics have successfully demonstrated a cluster formation scenario. (Image: FAU/Erich Malter)FAU/Erich Malter

FAU researchers describe a further scenario for cluster formation

Possibly one of the most intensively discussed topics in the field of physics is the effect of inelastic collapse in the dynamics of dissipative hard sphere systems, a particle model which is often used to simulate granular materials such as sand or cosmic dust. Inelastic collapse refers to a process in which there is an infinite number of collisions between particles in a finite time without any input from external influences. The particles form a cluster, in other words they are in permanent contact with each other. Up until now, it was believed that this scenario required two prerequisites to be met: Inertia of particles and a certain degree of elasticity. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now succeeded in proving another scenario for an inelastic collapse such as this.

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Pöschel, Institute of Multiscale Simulation of Particulate Systems, and Dr. Nikola Topic, Institute of Fluid Mechanics, demonstrated that an inelastic collapse can also occur in more complicated particles without both prerequisites having to be met. These findings may explain the process behind the creation of planetesimals, the precursor to planets. The FAU researchers published the paper in ‘Nature Communications Physics.’

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Pöschel researches various topics in the area of granular materials. An overview of his projects is available on the Institute’s website.

Further information

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Pöschel

Phone: +49 9131 85 70501