"Complex dynamics of three interacting spheres in a rotating drum"
JE Davidheiser, P Syers, PN Segre, & ER Weeks, Phys. Fluids 22, 033305 (2010).

Numerous studies have demonstrated the potential for simple fluid plus particle systems to produce complicated dynamical behavior. In this work, we study a horizontal rotating drum filled with pure glycerol and three large, heavy spheres. The rotation of the drum causes the spheres to cascade and tumble and thus interact with each other. We find several different behaviors of the spheres depending on the drum rotation rate. Simpler states include the spheres remaining well separated, or states where two or all three of the spheres come together and cascade together. We also see two more complex states, where two or three of the spheres move chaotically. We characterize these chaotic states and find that in many respects they are quite unpredictable. This experiment serves as a simple model system to demonstrate chaotic behavior in fluid dynamical systems.