granular flow

Why your muesli shakes down in unexpected ways.

Two mathematicians' visit to the desert sheds new light on avalanches.

As your cereal tumbled into your bowl this morning, were you daydreaming of sand dunes or snowy mountains? It wouldn't be surprising given the drab grey skies outside. But now you have another excuse: the cereal, sand and snow can all be examples of granular flows.

Fluid mechanics is the study of flows in both liquids and gases, and is therefore enormously important in understanding many natural phenomena, as well as in industrial applications. Geophysicist Herbert Huppert tells us what happens when two fluids of different densities meet, for example when volcanos erupt and hot ash-laden air is poured out into the atmosphere.
Jim McElwaine tells Plus how he combines his two loves - mathematics and mountaineering - in avalanche research.