Granular labyrinth structures in confined geometries

Henning Arendt Knudsen*, Bjørnar Sandnes, Eirik Grude Flekkøy, Knut Jørgen Måløy

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)
    35 Downloads (Pure)


    Pattern forming processes are abundant in nature. Here, we report on a particular pattern forming process. Upon withdrawal of fluid from a particle-fluid dispersion in a Hele-Shaw cell, the particles are shown to be left behind in intriguing mazelike patterns. The particles, initially being uniformly spread out in a disc, are slowly pulled inwards and together by capillary and pressure forces. Invading air forms branching fingers, whereas the particles are compiled into comparably narrow branches. These branches are connected in a treelike structure, taking the form of a maze. The characteristic length scale within the structure is found to decrease with the volume fraction of the particles and increase with the plate separation in the Hele-Shaw cell. We present a simulator designed to simulate this phenomenon, which reproduces qualitatively and quantitatively the experiments, as well as a theory that can predict the observed wavelengths.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number021301
    JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2008

    Bibliographical note

    Henning Arendt Knudsen, Bjornar Sandnes, Eirik Grude Flekkoy, and Knut Jorgen Maloy, Physical review E, 77, 021301, 2008. Copyright 2008 by the American Physical Society. The original article can be found at


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