We studied experimentally the discharge of a vertical silo filled by spherical glass beads and assisted by injection of air from the top at a constant flow rate, a situation which has practical interest for nuclear safety or air-assisted discharge of hoppers. The measured parameters are the mass flow rate and the pressure along the silo, while the controlled parameters are the size of particles and the flow rate of air. Increasing the air flow rate induces an increase in the granular media flow rate. Using a two-phase continuum model with a frictional rheology to describe particle-particle interactions, we reveal the role played by the air-pressure gradient at the orifice. Based on this observation, we propose a simple analytical model which predicts the mass flow rate of a granular media discharged from a silo with injection of gas. This model takes into account the coupling with the gas flow as well as the silo geometry, position, and size of the orifice.

Figure: flow rate versus the particle diameter for severals air flow rate. Dashed-lines: analytical model.

Y. Zhou, P.-Y. Lagrée, S. Popinet, P. Ruyer and P. Aussillous, *Phys. Rev. Fluids* **4**, 124305 (2019) (pdf)