Non-Equilibrium Pattern Selection in Particle Sedimentation

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In this paper, we explain some well known experimental observations in fluid solid interaction from a thermodynamic perspective. In particular we use the extremum of the rate of entropy production to establish the stability of specific patterns observed in single and multiparticle sedimentation in an infinite fluid and the sedimentation of spheres in the presence of walls. While these phenomena have been explained numerically, there is no known rigorous theoretical argument to establish the stability of the observed configurations. We provide a very convincing theoretical basis using entropy based arguments that are considered by several scientists as the underlying theme of nature, life and evolution. In the absence of many rigorous examples for the entropy production principle, our paper advances this argument and lends it much credibility. In addition to looking at the rate of entropy production, we also put forth a very plausible heuristic argument based on the thermal gradients in the systems being studied, which could be the underlying causal principle for many known patterns in nature.



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