Invited review: Clogging of granular materials in bottlenecks

  • Iker Zuriguel Department of Physics and Applied Mathematics. University of Navarra.
Keywords: Granular media, clogging, arches, jamming.


During the past decades, notable improvements have been achieved in the understanding of static and dynamic properties of granular materials, giving rise to appealing new concepts like jamming, force chains, non-local rheology or the inertial number. The 'saltcellar' can be seen as a canonical example of the characteristic features displayed by granular materials: an apparently smooth flow is interrupted by the formation of a mesoscopic structure (arch) above the outlet that causes a quick dissipation of all the kinetic energy within the system. In this manuscript, I will give an overview of this field paying special attention to the features of statistical distributions appearing in the clogging and unclogging processes. These distributions are essential to understand the problem and allow subsequent study of topics such as the influence of particle shape, the structure of the clogging arches and the possible existence of a critical outlet size above which the outpouring will never stop. I shall finally offer some hints about general ideas that can be explored in the next few years.


Received: 21 November 2014,  Accepted: 5 December 2014; Reviewed by: K. To, Institute of Physics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan; Edited by: L. A. Pugnaloni; DOI:

Cite as: I Zuriguel, Papers in Physics 6, 060014 (2014)