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Physics (HMC)

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Recent studies reveal that suspensions of neutrally buoyant non-Brownian particles driven by slow periodic shear can undergo a dynamical phase transition between a fluctuating irreversible steady state and an absorbing reversible state. Using a computer model, we show that such systems exhibit self-organized criticality when a finite particle sedimentation velocity vs is introduced. Under periodic shear, these systems evolve, without external intervention, towards the shear-dependent critical concentration ϕc as vs is reduced. This state is characterized by power-law distributions in the lifetime and size of fluctuating clusters. Experiments exhibit similar behavior and, as vs is reduced, yield steady-state values of ϕ that tend towards the ϕc corresponding to the applied shear.


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