Disordered strictly jammed binary sphere packings attain an anomalously large range of densities

Adam B. Hopkins, Frank H. Stillinger, Salvatore Torquato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous attempts to simulate disordered binary sphere packings have been limited in producing mechanically stable, isostatic packings across a broad spectrum of packing fractions. Here we report that disordered strictly jammed binary packings (packings that remain mechanically stable under general shear deformations and compressions) can be produced with an anomalously large range of average packing fractions 0.634≤α≤0.829 for small to large sphere radius ratios α restricted to α≥0.100. Surprisingly, this range of average packing fractions is obtained for packings containing a subset of spheres (called the backbone) that are exactly strictly jammed, exactly isostatic, and also generated from random initial conditions. Additionally, the average packing fractions of these packings at certain α and small sphere relative number concentrations x approach those of the corresponding densest known ordered packings. These findings suggest for entropic reasons that these high-density disordered packings should be good glass formers and that they may be easy to prepare experimentally. We also identify an unusual feature of the packing fraction of jammed backbones (packings with rattlers excluded). The backbone packing fraction is about 0.624 over the majority of the α-x plane, even when large numbers of small spheres are present in the backbone. Over the (relatively small) area of the α-x plane where the backbone is not roughly constant, we find that backbone packing fractions range from about 0.606 to 0.829, with the volume of rattler spheres comprising between 1.6% and 26.9% of total sphere volume. To generate isostatic strictly jammed packings, we use an implementation of the Torquato-Jiao sequential linear programming algorithm, which is an efficient producer of inherent structures (mechanically stable configurations at the local maxima in the density landscape). The identification and explicit construction of binary packings with such high packing fractions could have important practical implications for granular composites where density is critical both to material properties and fabrication cost, including for solid propellants, concrete, and ceramics. The densities and structures of jammed binary packings at various α and x are also relevant to the formation of a glass phase in multicomponent metallic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number022205
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume88
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 30 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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