EPJ Web Conf.
Volume 249, 2021Powders & Grains 2021 – 9th International Conference on Micromechanics on Granular Media
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||07 June 2021|
Granular segregation on the rubble-pile asteroid Itokawa
Department of Mechanical Engineering
2 Department of Earth Sciences Mechanics and Applied Mathematics Group, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur, UP 208016, India
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published online: 7 June 2021
We investigate the dynamics of regolith on rubble-pile asteroids to explain granular processes observed in reality. In particular, we explain how the appearance of boulders on the surface of asteroid Itokawa could have resulted from a size sorting process in granular media called the Brazil Nut Effect (BNE). The Discrete Element Method (DEM) is implemented to perform numerical simulations of the BNE in a micro-gravity environment caused by inter-particle collisions during seismic vibrations. Firstly, we present the results of how the BNE depends on the magnitude of surface gravity. It is estimated that segregation processes on Itokawa occur over much longer time-scales (in the order of a few hundred years) than the same processes would require in the presence of a strong gravitational field, like on Earth. Secondly, we also find that the size sorting could also result from kinetic sieving encountered during granular avalanches. Finally, we discuss how the void-filling mechanism becomes more efficient when there is a higher relative size difference between the boulders and the surrounding grains. Our model has important implications in understanding the resurfacing of Itokawa by trying to explain one of the many complex geophysical processes that occur in such unique conditions.
A video is available at https://doi.org/10.48448/0dv2-nh95
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2021
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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