Existence of isostatic, maximally random jammed monodisperse hard-disk packings

Steven Atkinson, Frank H. Stillinger, Salvatore Torquato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


We generate jammed packings of monodisperse circular hard-disks in two dimensions using the Torquato-Jiao sequential linear programming algorithm. The packings display a wide diversity of packing fractions, average coordination numbers, and order as measured by standard scalar order metrics. This geometric-structure approach enables us to show the existence of relatively large maximally random jammed (MRJ) packings with exactly isostatic jammed backbones and a packing fraction (including rattlers) of φ=0:826. By contrast, the concept of random close packing (RCP) that identifies the most probable packings as the most disordered misleadingly identifies highly ordered disk packings as RCP in 2D. Fundamental structural descriptors such as the pair correlation function, structure factor, and Voronoi statistics show a strong contrast between the MRJ state and the typical hyperstatic, polycrystalline packings with φ≈0:88 that are more commonly obtained using standard packing protocols. Establishing that the MRJ state for monodisperse hard disks is isostatic and qualitatively distinct from commonly observed polycrystalline packings contradicts conventional wisdom that such a disordered, isostatic packing does not exist due to a lack of geometrical frustration and sheds light on the nature of disorder. This prompts the question of whether an algorithm may be designed that is strongly biased toward generating the monodisperse disk MRJ state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18436-18441
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 30 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Jamming
  • Packing
  • Randomness


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