Exclusion volumes of convex bodies in high space dimensions: applications to virial coefficients and continuum percolation

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Using the concepts of mixed volumes and quermassintegrals of convex geometry, we derive an exact formula for the exclusion volume vex(K) for a general convex body K that applies in any space dimension. While our main interests concern the rotationally-averaged exclusion volume of a convex body with respect to another convex body, we also describe some results for the exclusion volumes for convex bodies with the same orientation. We show that the sphere minimizes the dimensionless exclusion volume vex(K)/v(K) among all convex bodies, whether randomly oriented or uniformly oriented, for any d, where v(K) is the volume of K. When the bodies have the same orientation, the simplex maximizes the dimensionless exclusion volume for any d with a large-d asymptotic scaling behavior of 22d /d 3/2, which is to be contrasted with the corresponding scaling of 2d for the sphere. We present explicit formulas for quermassintegrals W0(K), …, Wd (K) for many different nonspherical convex bodies, including cubes, parallelepipeds, regular simplices, cross-polytopes, cylinders, spherocylinders, ellipsoids as well as lower-dimensional bodies, such as hyperplates and line segments. These results are utilized to determine the rotationally-averaged exclusion volume vex(K) for these convex-body shapes for dimensions 2 through 12. While the sphere is the shape possessing the minimal dimensionless exclusion volume, we show that, among the convex bodies considered that are sufficiently compact, the simplex possesses the maximal vex(K)/v(K) with a scaling behavior of 21.6618…d . Subsequently, we apply these results to determine the corresponding second virial coefficient B2(K) of the aforementioned hard hyperparticles. Our results are also applied to compute estimates of the continuum percolation threshold ηc derived previously by the authors for systems of identical overlapping convex bodies. We conjecture that overlapping spheres possess the maximal value of ηc among all identical nonzero-volume convex overlapping bodies for d ⩾ 2, randomly or uniformly oriented, and that, among all identical, oriented nonzero-volume convex bodies, overlapping simplices have the minimal value of ηc for d ⩾ 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number093404
JournalJournal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


  • percolation problems
  • random/ordered microstructures
  • series expansions


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