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Paper   IPM / P / 13891
School of Physics
  Title:   Structural and mechanical features of the order-disorder transition in experimental hard-sphere packings
1.  M. Hanifpour
2.  N . Francois
3.  V. Robins
4.  A. Kingston
5.  S.M. Vaez Allaei
6.  M. Saadatfar
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Phys. Rev. E
  Vol.:  91
  Year:  2015
  Pages:   062202
  Supported by:  IPM
Here we present an experimental and numerical investigation on the grain-scale geometrical and mechanical properties of partially crystallized structures made of macroscopic frictional grains. Crystallization is inevitable in arrangements of monosized hard spheres with packing densities exceeding Bernal's limiting density -Bernal-0.64. We study packings of monosized hard spheres whose density spans over a wide range (0.59<�?<0.72). These experiments harness x-ray computed tomography, three-dimensional image analysis, and numerical simulations to access precisely the geometry and the 3D structure of internal forces within the sphere packings. We show that clear geometrical transitions coincide with modifications of the mechanical backbone of the packing both at the grain and global scale. Notably, two transitions are identified at -Bernal-0.64 and -c-0.68. These results provide insights on how geometrical and mechanical features at the grain scale conspire to yield partially crystallized structures that are mechanically stable.

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