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Journal Article

Velocity Distribution of a Homogeneously Cooling Granular Gas


Schröter,  Matthias
Group Statistical mechanics of granular media, Department of Dynamics of Complex Fluids, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Yu, P., Schröter, M., & Sperl, M. (2020). Velocity Distribution of a Homogeneously Cooling Granular Gas. Physical Review Letters, 124: 208007. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.208007.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-791E-2
In contrast to molecular gases, granular gases are characterized by inelastic collisions and require
therefore permanent driving to maintain a constant kinetic energy. The kinetic theory of granular gases
describes how the average velocity of the particles decreases after the driving is shut off. Moreover, it
predicts that the rescaled particle velocity distribution will approach a stationary state with overpopulated
high-velocity tails as compared to the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. While this fundamental theoretical
result was reproduced by numerical simulations, an experimental confirmation is still missing. Using a
microgravity experiment that allows the spatially homogeneous excitation of spheres via magnetic fields,
we confirm the theoretically predicted exponential decay of the tails of the velocity distribution.