Large-scale frictionless jamming with power-law particle size distributions

JM Monti and JT Clemmer and I Srivastava and LE Silbert and GS Grest and JB Lechman, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 106, 034901 (2022).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.106.034901

Due to significant computational expense, discrete element method simulations of jammed packings of size -dispersed spheres with size ratios greater than 1:10 have remained elusive, limiting the correspondence between simulations and real-world granular materials with large size dispersity. Invoking a recently developed neighbor binning algorithm, we generate mechanically stable jammed packings of frictionless spheres with power-law size distributions containing up to nearly 4 000 000 particles with size ratios up to 1:100. By systematically varying the width and exponent of the underlying power laws, we analyze the role of particle size distributions on the structure of jammed packings. The densest packings are obtained for size distributions that balance the relative abundance of large-large and small-small particle contacts. Although the proportion of rattler particles and mean coordination number strongly depend on the size distribution, the mean coordination of nonrattler particles attains the frictionless isostatic value of six in all cases. The size distribution of nonrattler particles that participate in the load-bearing network exhibits no dependence on the width of the total particle size distribution beyond a critical particle size for low-magnitude exponent power laws. This signifies that only particles with sizes greater than the critical particle size contribute to the mechanical stability. However, for high-magnitude exponent power laws, all particle sizes participate in the mechanical stability of the packing.

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