How dense can one pack spheres of arbitrary size distribution?
Departamento de Física, Universidade Federal do Ceará - 60451-970 Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil
2 Computational Physics for Engineering Materials, IfB, ETH Zürich - Schafmattstr. 6, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland
Accepted: 25 November 2011
We present the first systematic algorithm to estimate the maximum packing density of spheres when the grain sizes are drawn from an arbitrary size distribution. With an Apollonian filling rule, we implement our technique for disks in 2d and spheres in 3d. As expected, the densest packing is achieved with power-law size distributions. We also test the method on homogeneous and on empirical real distributions, and we propose a scheme to obtain experimentally accessible distributions of grain sizes with low porosity. Our method should be helpful in the development of ultra-strong ceramics and high-performance concrete.
PACS: 81.05.Rm – Porous materials; granular materials / 45.70.-n – Granular systems / 45.70.Cc – Static sandpiles; granular compaction
© EPLA, 2012