The mechanisms ruling the transportation of granular material are of paramount interest since they are fundamental in numerous natural phenomena and environmental issues (dunes migration, landslides, desertification...) as well as industrial and civil engineering processes. Yet, the motion and onset of motion of a granular bed remain debatable mechanisms. The better physical understanding of the behaviour of a collection of grains during its transport is thus a challenging issue. To address this question, we project to carry out numerical simulations to reproduce paradigmatic transport experiments. The numerical method employed allows for the modelling of each grain forming the granular media. We are thus able to study how the interactions at the scale of the grains prevail on the macroscopic behaviour, what is not possible from purely experimental studies. Two transportation mechanisms are investigated: salutation in response to a wind blow, and flow in response to gravity. The results will be discussed in relation with previous and new experimental observations. In particular, we will develop an experimental set-up to carry out new laboratory experiments. We thus expect to achieve original results and a better understanding of the mechanisms ruling the granular transportation. This project, to be realized in DAMTP, Cambridge, would involve computational, experimental and theoretical expertises, and create a close interaction between physicists and geophysicists. This project can be integrated in the perspective of a European network of excellence for the research on granular matter.
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