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Towards the end of drying of granular materials: enhanced evaporation and drying-induced collapse
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  • Zhongzheng Wang,
  • Benjamin Maillet,
  • Jean-Michel Pereira,
  • Yixiang Gan
Zhongzheng Wang
The University of Sydney
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Benjamin Maillet
Laboratoire Navier
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Jean-Michel Pereira
Ecole des Ponts ParisTech

Corresponding Author:jean-michel.pereira@enpc.fr

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Yixiang Gan
University of Sydney
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We experimentally study the drying of loosely packed wet glass beads at low initial water content. The drying rate is found to decrease at the start, corresponding to the decreasing rate period controlled by vapor diffusion, followed by a deviation in drying rate from the diffusion limited evaporation. The propagation of drying front associated with a sharp saturation gradient is identified through both image analysis and magnetic resonance imaging technique. The drying-induced collapse of granular medium is observed and quantified. The concentrated collapse at the end of drying suggests the existence of liquid in the form of liquid bridges in the apparent dry region until the end of drying process. Collapse event is found to be local, i.e., a clear boundary can be identified for each collapse event, below which the loosely packed medium remains intact. This indicates the existence of a saturation gradient in the apparent dry region. The drying dynamics and collapse statistics suggest that the observed transition of drying regimes is due to Kelvin effect. This work demonstrates for the first time the drying enhancement phenomenon due to Kelvin effect even for grains with size of hundreds of micrometers, and provides insights on the drying process of partially saturated granular materials, especially near the final period of evaporation.