A New Methodology for Granular Flow Simulations of Planetary Rings – Coordinates and Boundary Conditions

M.C. Lewis and G.R. Stewart (USA)


Physically-based Modeling, 3-Dimensional Modeling, Granular Flows, Planetary Rings


The simulation of granular flows is a topic that is of significant interest to work done in fields such as chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, physics, and planetary science as well as other fields such as avalanche modeling. One less well known area in which granular flow simulations are significant is in the study of planetary rings. In this paper we look at methods that we developed and implemented to deal with a specific type of planetary ring system. These methods have allowed us to explore systems that were previously inaccessible using n-body numerical modeling. As a result, we have been able to discover that these systems could be extremely useful as diagnostic regions of Saturn’s ring system when the Cassini mission arrives there in 2004. While the methodology was developed for strongly perturbed rings, we believe that these methods could be applicable in other systems. In addition, the general direction of thought that lead to this methodology could give the general practitioner a new way to look at problems.

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