Focus Series on Challenges in Granular Matter

Granular (or particulate) matter encompases a wide range of many-body systems for which the interacting bodies are macroscopic particles: sand, cereals, beans, soil, powders, etc. These grains interact collectively via nonconservative forces such as friction and internal dissipation providing myriad emerging phenomena still poorly understood by physicists, chemists, and engineers.

This Focus Series brings together a number of contributions that frame some of the most important challenges ahead in the area of granular matter. Each paper focuses on describing an unsolved problem that is important for the community to tackle, and proposes routes to solutions. We expect this Focus Series will help shape the research in this area for years to come, and particularly invite early and mid-career researchers to participate in highlighting what they see as the most interesting challenges ahead.

Guest Editors

Karen Daniels
Karen Daniels

North Carolina State University, USA

Gabriela Nicora
Luis Pugnaloni

Universidad Nacional de La Pampa, Argentina

Jidong Zhao
Jidong Zhao

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong


Confirmed contributions:

  • From granular flow to pedestrians
  • Bespoke particle shapes in granular matter
  • Wave propagation in granular materials
  • Multiscale modeling of granular media
  • "Seeing” through granular media
  • Measuring time-resolved force chain evolution in 3D granular materials
  • Defining entropy-like quantities for granular systems
  • Tribology and fault mechanics
  • Complex particle interactions


[2021-11-10] We expect contributions to be submitted by the end of 2021. Please contact the editors if you need extra time.

[2021-10-19] Reception of submissions for this focus series of Papers in Physics edited by Karen Daniels, Luis Pugnaloni and Jidong Zhao is now open.

If you have been invited to submit your original contribution to be included in the "Focus Series on Challenges in Granular Matter” or if you simply wish to spontaneously submit a contribution to this Focus Series, please follow the general author instructions and make sure you select the Focus Series in the Articles Section choice.

You will be able to choose between two editorial treatments: Traditional Review or Open Review (see Submission Guidelines). We recommend Open Review treatment, where reviewers are not annonymous and their names will be stated in the paper if published, giving public credit to them. Moreover, if the editors consider the reports valuable for the readers, the publication of reviewer Commentaries, with due Replies from authors when necessary, is also encouraged.

  • All manuscripts are peer reviewed.
  • Accepted papers will be published as regular articles in Papers in Physics as soon as they are ready.
  • All papers are collected and linked from a web page in the journal dedicated to the Focus Series with forewords from the editors.
  • All papers are Open Access.

Important note: The subject areas such as Foundations of Physics, History of Physics, Physics Education and Physics Vulgarization are out of the scope of Papers in Physics.