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Geometrical structure of disordered sphere packings T. Aste, M. Saadatfar, and T. J. Senden
 

Summary: Geometrical structure of disordered sphere packings
T. Aste, M. Saadatfar, and T. J. Senden
Department of Applied Mathematics, Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, The Australian National University,
Canberra ACT 0200, Australia
Received 1 February 2005; published 20 June 2005
The three-dimensional structure of large packings of monosized spheres with volume fractions ranging
between 0.58 and 0.64 has been studied with x-ray computed tomography. We search for signatures of orga-
nization, classifying local arrangements and exploring the effects of local geometrical constrains on the global
packing. This study is the largest and the most accurate empirical analysis of disordered packings at the
grain-scale to date, mapping over 380 000 sphere coordinates with precision within 0.1% of the sphere diam-
eters. We discuss topological and geometrical methods to characterize and classify these systems emphasizing
the implications that local geometry can have on the mechanisms of formation of these amorphous structures.
Some of the main results are 1 the observation that the average number of contacts increases with the volume
fraction; 2 the discovery that these systems have a very compact contact network; 3 the finding that
disordered packing can be locally more efficient than crystalline packings; 4 the observation that the peaks of
the radial distribution function follow power law divergences; 5 the discovery that geometrical frustration
plays no role in the formation of such amorphous packings.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.71.061302 PACS number s : 45.70.Cc
I. INTRODUCTION
When balls are poured into a container they arrange them-

  

Source: Aste, Tomaso - Department of Applied Mathematics, Australian National University

 

Collections: Physics