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Discover Magazine Names NYU Physics Finding One of Top Stories of 2009

magazine coverThe NYU team, led by Jasna Brujic, an assistant professor in NYU’s
Department of Physics, developed an innovative way to tabulate the
number of spheres-they created a method for determining how spheres
pack from inside the jar, making it easier to more accurately count

To answer the question of how particles pack in general, the NYU
researchers made a transparent, fluorescent packing of oil droplets in
water, which allowed it to record three-dimensional images and examine
the local geometry of each member of the pack. In other words, what
does a packing look like from the point of view of a grain within-i.e.,
a “granocentric” view?

Their findings show that packing strongly depends on the size
distribution-larger particles pack with more neighbors than do smaller
ones. Nevertheless, the average number of contacts per particle always
stays the same to preserve mechanical stability.