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Trinity College Dublin

Packing of Hard Spheres in Cylindrical Channels

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Dr Stefan Hutzler
The problem of how to pack objects into a confined space is something that every economy-class flyer is familiar with!!!. Surprisingly, such problems find an extremely broad range of scientific and industrial applications including how a manufacturer of Chinese egg rolls can pack their food products into cylindrical containers in the most efficient way all the way to a scientific understanding of how molecules can self-assemble themselves into nanostructures that form the basis of next-generation technology. For packings of hard spheres in cylindrical channels, a wide range of chiral and achiral close-packed structures below a tube-to-sphere size ratio of 2.713, in which cases there exist no internal balls, have previously been discovered by Pickett et al. [1] and by ourselves [2] through the computational method of simulated annealing. Here, we would like to extend our numerical investigation to cases with a tube-to-sphere ratio larger than 2.713 where there will be the existence of internal balls in the close-packed structures. The numerical results obtained will be vital to an extension of our current theory [2], which is only valid for cases without the presence of internal balls, to a general theoretical description of hard-sphere packing in cylindrical channels.[1] G. T. Pickett, M Gross and H. Okuyama, Spontaneous Chirality in Simple Systems, Physical Review Letters 85, 3652 (2000).[2] A. Mughal, H. K. Chan
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Last updated 16 Mar 2011Contact Research IT.