Experiments on random packings of ellipsoids

Weining Man, Aleksandar Donev, Frank H. Stillinger, Matthew T. Sullivan, William B. Russel, David Heeger, Souheil Inati, Salvatore Torquato, P. M. Chaikin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


Recent simulations indicate that ellipsoids can pack randomly more densely than spheres and, remarkably, for axes ratios near 1.25 1 0.8 can approach the densest crystal packing (fcc) of spheres, with a packing fraction of 74%. We demonstrate that such dense packings are realizable. We introduce a novel way of determining packing density for a finite sample that minimizes surface effects. We have fabricated ellipsoids and show that, in a sphere, the radial packing fraction (r) can be obtained from V(h), the volume of added fluid to fill the sphere to height h. We also obtain (r) from a magnetic resonance imaging scan. The measurements of the overall density avr, (r) and the core density 0=0.74±0.005 agree with simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number198001
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 20 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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