Jamming III: Characterizing randomness via the entropy of jammed matter

Christopher Briscoe, Chaoming Song, Ping Wang, Hernn A. Makse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The nature of randomness in disordered packings of frictional and frictionless spheres is investigated using theory and simulations of identical spherical grains. The entropy of the packings is defined through the force and volume ensemble of jammed matter and this is shown to be difficult to calculate analytically. A mesoscopic ensemble of isostatic states is then utilized in an effort to predict the entropy through the definition of a volume function that is dependent on the coordination number. Equations of state are obtained relating entropy, volume fraction and compactivity characterizing the different states of jammed matter, and elucidating the phase diagram for jammed granular matter. Analytical calculations are compared to numerical simulations using volume fluctuation analysis and graph theoretical methods, with reasonable agreement. The entropy of the jammed system reveals that random loose packings are more disordered than random close packings, allowing for an unambiguous interpretation of both limits. Ensemble calculations show that the entropy vanishes at random close packing (RCP), while numerical simulations show that a finite entropy remains in the microscopic states at RCP. The notion of a negative compactivity, which explores states with volume fractions below those achievable by existing simulation protocols, is also explored, expanding the equations of state. The mesoscopic theory reproduces the simulations results in shape well, though a difference in magnitude implies that the entire entropy of the packing may not be captured by the methods presented herein. We discuss possible extensions to the present mesoscopic approach describing packings from random loose packing (RLP) to RCP to the ordered branch of the equation of state in an effort to understand the entropy of jammed matter in the full range of densities from RLP to face-centered cubic (FCC) packing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3978-3999
Number of pages22
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Entropy
  • Jammed matter
  • Volume ensemble

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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