Adhesive loose packings of small dry particles†
We explore adhesive loose packings of small dry spherical particles of micrometer size using 3D discrete-element simulations with adhesive contact mechanics and statistical ensemble theory. A dimensionless adhesion parameter (Ad) successfully combines the effects of particle velocities, sizes and the work of adhesion, identifying a universal regime of adhesive packings for Ad > 1. The structural properties of the packings in this regime are well described by an ensemble approach based on a coarse-grained volume function that includes the correlation between bulk and contact spheres. Our theoretical and numerical results predict: (i) an equation of state for adhesive loose packings that appear as a continuation from the frictionless random close packing (RCP) point in the jamming phase diagram and (ii) the existence of an asymptotic adhesive loose packing point at a coordination number Z = 2 and a packing fraction ϕ = 1/23. Our results highlight that adhesion leads to a universal packing regime at packing fractions much smaller than the random loose packing (RLP), which can be described within a statistical mechanical framework. We present a general phase diagram of jammed matter comprising frictionless, frictional, adhesive as well as non-spherical particles, providing a classification of packings in terms of their continuation from the spherical frictionless RCP.