Experimental demonstration of nonuniform frequency distributions of granular packings

Guo Jie Gao, Jerzy Blawzdziewicz, Corey S. O'Hern, Mark Shattuck

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41 Scopus citations


We developed an experimental method to generate mechanically stable (MS) packings of frictionless disks and performed coordinated experiments and simulations to characterize MS packings in small systems. For a given system geometry, MS packings occur as discrete, well-separated points in configuration space with probabilities that vary by many orders of magnitude and are robust with respect to the packing preparation. Over a continuous range of system geometries, MS packings occur as distinct geometrical families and only a small fraction of families are sampled via quasistatic dynamics. These results suggest that the most frequent MS packings may dominate the structural and mechanical properties of dense granular media.

Original languageEnglish
Article number061304
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 17 2009


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