Granular materials, such as sand, cereal grains, sugar or coffee, are an integral part of our daily lives. However, behind their apparent simplicity lies a complex world: they are made up of numerous small particles that interact with each other, creating a multi-layered pattern of behavior. Granular materials sometimes exhibit ambivalent behavior, sometimes taking on the properties of solid bodies, sometimes those of liquids. The sand in an hourglass, for example, can easily change from a solid to a liquid state. A team led by Prof. Wei Wu from the Institute of Geotechnical Engineering at BOKU University is now launching the "Modeling transient granular flow" (MOTRAN) project to gain a deeper understanding of the behavior of these materials.

"The aim of the MOTRAN project is to develop a comprehensive numerical model that can capture the complexity of both the solid and liquid states as well as the transient processes in between," says Wei Wu. MORTAN should make a significant contribution to gaining a deeper understanding of the dynamic behavior of granular materials during changes of state. This opens up a wide range of potential applications in areas such as geohazards, geotechnics and process engineering. For example, it enables the precise analysis and prediction of phenomena such as the transition from stable slopes to mudflows, from solid ski slopes to avalanches, as well as liquefaction, flow and clogging processes in industrial applications.

"This award is an honor for me and is a recognition of the work that I and my group have done in developing the theories for granular materials," says project leader Wei Wu. "It enables me to build a world-class international research team and bring about a paradigm shift in the understanding of transient processes in granular materials."

Prof. Dr. Ing. Wei Wu
BOKU University
Institute of Geotechnical Engineering
Email: wei.wu(at)
Telefon: +43 1 47654 87311 

(Translated with the support of AI)