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Issue 9, 2015
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Jammed elastic shells – a 3D experimental soft frictionless granular system

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We present a new experimental system of monodisperse, soft, frictionless, fluorescent labeled elastic shells for the characterization of structure, universal scaling laws and force networks in 3D jammed matter. The elastic shells in a jammed packing are deformed in such a way that at each contact one of the shells buckles with a dimple and the other remain spherical, closely resembling overlapping spheres. Using confocal microscopy, we obtained 3D stacks of images of shells at different volume fractions which were subsequently processed in ImageJ software to find their coordinates. The determination of 3D coordinates involved three steps: locating the edges of shells in all 2D slices, analyzing their shape and subsequently finding their 2D coordinates, and finally determining their 3D centers by grouping the corresponding 2D coordinates. From this analysis routine we obtained particle coordinates with sub-pixel accuracy. In a contact pair we also identified the shell that underwent buckling forming a dimple by analyzing the intensity profile of a line that connects the centers of particle pairs. The amorphous structure of the packing was analyzed as a function of distance to the jamming threshold by investigating the radial distribution function, bond order parameters, contact numbers and the number of dimples per particle (buckling number), which is a unique property of this system. We find that the power law scaling of the contact number with excess volume fraction deviated from theoretical and computer simulation predictions. In addition, the buckling number also showed a similar scaling as that of the contact number with distance to the jamming transition.

Graphical abstract: Jammed elastic shells – a 3D experimental soft frictionless granular system

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Sep 2014, accepted on 09 Jan 2015 and first published on 09 Jan 2015

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02098G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2015,11, 1800-1813

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    Jammed elastic shells – a 3D experimental soft frictionless granular system

    J. Jose, G. A. Blab, A. van Blaaderen and A. Imhof, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 1800
    DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02098G

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