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Why anyone can make a sandcastle
Date:2/11/2008

gree structure emerged in which the fluid, grains and air existed equally side by side. The reason for this is easy to understand. As the fluid moistens the grains (it would not otherwise be possible to get them into the granule), it tries to surround itself with as much "grain" as possible. This is best achieved at the points of contact where two grains touch. The "empty" space in between is relatively unattractive for the fluid and fills with air.

When the Gttingen scientists then carried out a more exact study of the geometry of these filigree fluid structures, they established that not only did they all have the same pressure, but that the pressure had to be independent of the fluid content. This explains the universal stiffness of the material. The equal pressure corresponds to an equal force inside and therefore results in the moist granules having the same mechanical properties. "These properties are not only significant to the building of sandcastles," said Stephan Herminghaus, the head of the study. "They are relevant to the pharmaceutical and food-production industries and help us to understand certain natural catastrophes, such as landslides. Wet granules are relevant in many fields and we now have a better understanding of their mechanical properties."


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Contact: Professor Dr. Ralf Seemann
ralf.seemann@ds.mpg.de
49-551-517-6220
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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