London, July 30 (ANI): Guessing the number of sweets in a jar can be tricky, but now, scientists at New York University have determined how sweets pack from inside the jar, making it easier to more accurately count them.
The sweets located at the center of the jar are hidden from view, which makes it difficult to count the total number of sweets in the jar.
But, researchers at NYU aimed to unravel the complex geometry of the packing of the sweets, reports Nature.
Thus, to know how particles pack in general, the 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 this way, they looked at how does a packing look like from the point of view of a grain within-i.e., a "granocentric" view.
The findings revealed that packing strongly depends on the size distribution-larger particles pack with more neighbours than do smaller ones.
But, the average number of contacts per particle always stays the same to preserve mechanical stability.
The experimental clues led the researchers to develop a model that successfully captures the geometry, connectivity, and density of the observed sphere packings.
This means that starting from a set of particles of known sizes, the density of packing can be determined, making it possible to guess the number of sweets in the jar.
The model could also predict experimentally observed trends in density for mixtures of particles of two different sizes with varying ratios.
Packing problems are important in technological settings as well, ranging from oil extraction through porous rocks to grain storage in silos to the compaction of pharmaceutical powders into tablets.
The ability to predict the packing of polydisperse particles-a range of sizes in a single system-has significant impact on these and related technologies.
The study has been published in the latest issue of the journal Nature. (ANI)