Increasing granular flow rate with obstructions

  • Alan Murray SAE Creative Media Institute, Sydney
  • Fernando Alonso-Marroquin University of Sydney, Sydney
Keywords: granular flow, physics engine


We describe a simple experiment involving spheres rolling down an inclined plane towards a bottleneck and through a gap. Results of the experiment indicate that flow rate can be increased by placing an obstruction at optimal positions near the bottleneck. We use the experiment to develop a computer simulation using the PhysX physics engine. Simulations confirm the experimental results and we state several considerations necessary to obtain a model that agrees well with experiment. We demonstrate that the model exhibits clogging, intermittent and continuous flow, and that it can be used as a tool for further investigations in granular flow.

Received: 22 November 2015,  Accepted: 19 February  2016; Edited by: L. A. Pugnaloni; Reviewed by: C. M. Carlevaro, Instituto de Física de Líquidos y Sistemas Biológicos, La Plata, Argentina; DOI:

Cite as: A Murray, F Alonso-Marroquin, Papers in Physics 8, 080003 (2016)

This paper, by A Murray, F Alonso-Marroquin, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.