Ordered clusters and dynamical states of particles in a vibrated fluid

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Original entry: Hsin-I Lu, APPHY 225, Fall 2009

"Ordered clusters and dynamical states of particles in a vibrated fluid"

Greg A. Voth, B. Bigger, M. R. Buckley, W. Losert, M. P. Brenner, H. A. Stone, and J. P. Gollub, PRL 88, 234301 (2002)


This paper studied the clustering and dynamical states of small stainless steel spheres when they were vibrated in fluid. The long-range attractive interaction and short-range repulsive interaction between particles are fluid mediated. The resulting patterns include hexagonally ordered microcrystallites, time-periodic structures, and chaotic fluctuating patterns with complex dynamics.

Soft Matter Keywords

Interstitial fluid, self-assembly, viscosity, ordered clusters, microcrystallites

Soft Matter

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
  • Experiment:

Fig. 1 shows the experimental setup. A submonolayer of uniform stainless steel spheres together with a water/glycerol mixture are sealed inside an aluminum container vibrated vertically by an electromagnetic vibrator. Both the frequency (<math>v=2\pi f</math>) and amplitude (<math>S</math>) of the vibration of the container are controlled externally. The entire system is imaged from above by a fast CCD camera.

The time evolution of an initially random distribution of particles is shown in Fig. 2. After the vibrator is started, the particles quickly collect into localized clusters, and the clusters then slowly coalesce in a manner similar to coarsening in phase transitions.