Utter, B; Behringer, RP, *Self-diffusion in dense granular shear flows.*,
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, vol. 69 no. 3 Pt 1
(March, 2004),
pp. 031308 [15089287], [doi] .
**Abstract:**

*Diffusivity is a key quantity in describing velocity fluctuations in granular materials. These fluctuations are the basis of many thermodynamic and hydrodynamic models which aim to provide a statistical description of granular systems. We present experimental results on diffusivity in dense, granular shear flows in a two-dimensional Couette geometry. We find that self-diffusivities D are proportional to the local shear rate gamma; with diffusivities along the direction of the mean flow approximately twice as large as those in the perpendicular direction. The magnitude of the diffusivity is D approximately gamma;a(2), where a is the particle radius. However, the gradient in shear rate, coupling to the mean flow, and strong drag at the moving boundary lead to particle displacements that can appear subdiffusive or superdiffusive. In particular, diffusion appears to be superdiffusive along the mean flow direction due to Taylor dispersion effects and subdiffusive along the perpendicular direction due to the gradient in shear rate. The anisotropic force network leads to an additional anisotropy in the diffusivity that is a property of dense systems and has no obvious analog in rapid flows. Specifically, the diffusivity is suppressed along the direction of the strong force network. A simple random walk simulation reproduces the key features of the data, such as the apparent superdiffusive and subdiffusive behavior arising from the mean velocity field, confirming the underlying diffusive motion. The additional anisotropy is not observed in the simulation since the strong force network is not included. Examples of correlated motion, such as transient vortices, and Lévy flights are also observed. Although correlated motion creates velocity fields which are qualitatively different from collisional Brownian motion and can introduce nondiffusive effects, on average the system appears simply diffusive.*