Thermal collapse of a granular gas under gravity

Dmitri Volfson*, Baruch Meerson, Lev S. Tsimring

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Free cooling of a gas of inelastically colliding hard spheres represents a central paradigm of kinetic theory of granular gases. At zero gravity the temperature of a freely cooling homogeneous granular gas follows a power law in time. How does gravity, which brings inhomogeneity, affect the cooling? We combine molecular dynamics simulations, a numerical solution of hydrodynamic equations and an analytic theory to show that a granular gas cooling under gravity undergoes thermal collapse: it cools down to zero temperature and condenses on the bottom of the container in a finite time.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number061305
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006


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