Loughborough University
2019-Singh-SciRep.pdf (3.53 MB)
Download file

Electrification in granular gases leads to constrained fractal growth

Download (3.53 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2019-07-22, 10:12 authored by Chamkor Singh, Marco G. Mazza
The empirical observation of aggregation of dielectric particles under the influence of electrostatic forces lies at the origin of the theory of electricity. The growth of clusters formed of small grains underpins a range of phenomena from the early stages of planetesimal formation to aerosols. However, the collective effects of Coulomb forces on the nonequilibrium dynamics and aggregation process in a granular gas – a model representative of the above physical processes – have so far evaded theoretical scrutiny. Here, we establish a hydrodynamic description of aggregating granular gases that exchange charges upon collisions and interact via the long-ranged Coulomb forces. We analytically derive the governing equations for the evolution of granular temperature, charge variance, and number density for homogeneous and quasi-monodisperse aggregation. We find that, once the aggregates are formed, the granular temperature of the cluster population, the charge variance of the cluster population and the number density of the cluster population evolve in such a way that their non-dimensional combination obeys a physical constraint of nearly constant dimensionless ratio of characteristic electrostatic to kinetic energy. This constraint on the collective evolution of charged clusters is confirmed both by our theory and our detailed molecular dynamics simulations. The inhomogeneous aggregation of monomers and clusters in their mutual electrostatic field proceeds in a fractal manner. Our theoretical framework is extendable to more precise charge exchange mechanisms, a current focus of extensive experimentation. Furthermore, it illustrates the collective role of long-ranged interactions in dissipative gases and can lead to novel designing principles in particulate systems.


Max Planck Society



  • Science


  • Mathematical Sciences

Published in

Scientific Reports






SINGH, C. and MAZZA, M.G., 2019. Electrification in granular gases leads to constrained fractal growth. Scientific Reports, 9 (1), 9049.


Springer Nature © The Authors


  • VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

Publication date



This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.




  • en