Journal article Open Access
Segregation of particulate mixtures is a problem of great consequence in industries involved with the handling and processing of granular materials in which homogeneity is generally required. While there are several factors that may be responsible for segregation in bulk solids, it is well accepted that nonuniformity in particle size is a fundamental contributor. When the granular material is exposed to vibrations, the question of whether or not convection is an essential ingredient for size segregation is addressed by distinguishing between the situation where vibrations are not sufficiently energetic to promote a mean flow of the bulk solid, and those cases where a convective flow does occur. Based on experimental and simulation results in the literature, as well as dynamical systems analysis of a recent model of a binary granular mixture, it is proposed that "void-filling" beneath large particles is a universal mechanism promoting segregation, while convection essentially provides a means of mixing enhancement.