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Generating and Quantifying Structure in Granular and Cellular Structures

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Foams and Minimal Surfaces

We explore methods for the generation and analysis of simulated packings of granular and cellular structures. We consider a range of systems from simple random and ordered sphere packings, to packings of complex non-spherical shapes in 2D and 3D. We show how a simple bubble model for wet foams comprised of near spherical bubbles can be used to model the coarsening of wet foams, recreating several of the structural features seen when wet bubble crystals evolve due to bubble shrinkage at the surface of the foam. By utilising a range of order parameters to quantify structure, we are able to relate how features at the individual grain level affect the macroscopic properties of the system. Anisotropy and broken rotational symmetry at the local level are demonstrated to be of key importance in determining the macroscopic properties of granular systems in the packed stated. We are also able to decompose the contribution from the geometric shape of the grain, the inter-grain interac tion properties and the preparation method. Applications of these techniques in understanding initiation and evolution of landslides and the evolution of shape and size distribution due to particle breakage will be discussed.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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