Are Brazil nuts attractive?

Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Nov 12;93(20):208002. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.208002. Epub 2004 Nov 10.


We present event-driven simulation results for single and multiple intruders in a vertically vibrated granular bed. Under our vibratory conditions, the mean vertical position of a single intruder is governed primarily by a buoyancylike effect. Multiple intruders also exhibit buoyancy governed behavior; however, multiple neutrally buoyant intruders cluster spontaneously and undergo horizontal segregation. These effects can be understood by considering the dynamics of two neutrally buoyant intruders. We have measured an attractive force between such intruders which has a range of five intruder diameters, and we provide a mechanistic explanation for the origins of this force.