Confined disordered strictly jammed binary sphere packings

D. Chen, S. Torquato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Disordered jammed packings under confinement have received considerably less attention than their bulk counterparts and yet arise in a variety of practical situations. In this work, we study binary sphere packings that are confined between two parallel hard planes and generalize the Torquato-Jiao (TJ) sequential linear programming algorithm [Phys. Rev. E 82, 061302 (2010)PLEEE81539-375510.1103/PhysRevE.82.061302] to obtain putative maximally random jammed (MRJ) packings that are exactly isostatic with high fidelity over a large range of plane separation distances H, small to large sphere radius ratio α, and small sphere relative concentration x. We find that packing characteristics can be substantially different from their bulk analogs, which is due to what we term "confinement frustration." Rattlers in confined packings are generally more prevalent than those in their bulk counterparts. We observe that packing fraction, rattler fraction, and degree of disorder of MRJ packings generally increase with H, though exceptions exist. Discontinuities in the packing characteristics as H varies in the vicinity of certain values of H are due to associated discontinuous transitions between different jammed states. When the plane separation distance is on the order of two large-sphere diameters or less, the packings exhibit salient two-dimensional features; when the plane separation distance exceeds about 30 large-sphere diameters, the packings approach three-dimensional bulk packings. As the size contrast increases (as α decreases), the rattler fraction dramatically increases due to what we call "size-disparity" frustration. We find that at intermediate α and when x is about 0.5 (50-50 mixture), the disorder of packings is maximized, as measured by an order metric ψ that is based on the number density fluctuations in the direction perpendicular to the hard walls. We also apply the local volume-fraction variance στ2(R) to characterize confined packings and find that these packings possess essentially the same level of hyperuniformity as their bulk counterparts. Our findings are generally relevant to confined packings that arise in biology (e.g., structural color in birds and insects) and may have implications for the creation of high-density powders and improved battery designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number062207
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 23 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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