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.
© 2009 American Physical Society
L. Corte, S. J. Gerbode, W. Man, and D. J. Pine, “Self-organized criticality in sheared suspensions” Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 248301 (2009). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.103.248301