Local origin of global contact numbers in frictional ellipsoid packings.
In particulate soft matter systems the average number of contacts Z of a particle is an important predictor of the mechanical properties of the system. Using x-ray tomography, we analyze packings of frictional, oblate ellipsoids of various aspect ratios α, prepared at different global volume fractions ϕg. We find that Z is a monotonically increasing function of ϕg for all α. We demonstrate that this functional dependence can be explained by a local analysis where each particle is described by its local volume fraction ϕl computed from a Voronoi tessellation. Z can be expressed as an integral over all values of ϕl: Z(ϕg,α,X)=∫Zl(ϕl,α,X)P(ϕl|ϕg)dϕl. The local contact number function Zl(ϕl,α,X) describes the relevant physics in term of locally defined variables only, including possible higher order terms X. The conditional probability P(ϕl|ϕg) to find a specific value of ϕl given a global packing fraction ϕg is found to be independent of α and X. Our results demonstrate that for frictional particles a local approach is not only a theoretical requirement but also feasible.
Schaller, FM; Neudecker, M; Saadatfar, M; Delaney, GW; Schröder-Turk, GE; Schröter, M
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