Critical phenomena and collective behaviour of multi-particle complex systems

Critical phenomena and collective behaviour of multi-particle complex systems, or Complex Matter for short, is a collaborative European research project between the universities of Patras (GR), Brussels (B), Manchester (UK) and Twente (NL). It is supported under the Complexity-NET funding call “Interdisciplinary Challenges for Complexity Science”.

Duration: January 1st, 2011 – December 31st, 2012

The main objectives of the project are:
(a)  to elucidate how the properties of individual particles, their interactions, and fluctuations at the small scale lead to spontaneous structure formation and collective dynamics at the large scale,
(b) to develop a unified approach for systems whose constituents range from nano-particles to millimeter-sized grains, bridging the gap between quantum mechanics and the macroscopic world, and
(c)  to propose solutions for real-world problems such as the industrial processing of granular matter and the formation of traffic jams.

To achieve these goals we have formulated four Work Packages. Each team has the responsibility for one Work Package, while the close collaboration with the partner teams will be guaranteed through twinning exchanges and plenary meetings.

An example of collective dynamics in agitated granular matter: millimeter-sized beads, shaken sufficiently strongly in the vertical direction, spontaneously form convection rolls. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the Rayleigh-Bénard rolls observed in a fluid that is heated from below.
— Physics of Fluids, University of Twente, The Netherlands —