Rice Pile Experiments

Martin, Raleigh L.
Paola, Chris
Jerolmack, Douglas J.
Raleigh L. Martin
University of California, Los Angeles

Experiments on stochastic avalanching of rice pile as analogue to sediment transport fluctuations.  The rice pile is formed in a narrow chamber (width ≈ 2 cm) separated by two flat glass walls (height, width ≈ 30 cm).  Rice grains are fed by a custom-built screw feeder controlled by Microsoft VBA script determining rate of rotation of screw feeder (which increases linearly with feed rate of grains).  Resulting flux of rice grains out of pile is determined by scale below outlet which records weight every one second.  Flux can be determined by differences in scale weight between time steps.  A vacuum set to blower mode periodically clears particles from the scale.

Two types of experiments were performed:

  1. Steady feed (constant rate of particle additions to rice pile).
  2. Unsteady feed (sinusoidal, sawtooth, or square wave feeding of particles to rice pile).  Different amplitudes and periods of fluctuations among experiments.

Excel spreadsheet (included as internet resource below) describes parameters for all experiments.  "Raw data" folder includes timeseries (recorded or interpolated to 1 Hz) of cumulative mass (in grams) of rice particles on weigh scale.  Data need to be "cleaned" to remove signal of periodic vacuum blower used to remove rice particles.

More information is available here: http://sedexp.net/experiment/one-dimensional-rice-pile-avalanche

Date Last Updated: 
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Geolocation is 44.9823139, -93.25469129999999

Dates Collected: 
Friday, April 13, 2007 to Thursday, July 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007 to Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008 to Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 to Monday, July 20, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009 to Monday, November 30, 2009
Monday, July 11, 2011 to Monday, July 25, 2011
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0: raw