The behaviors of large, dynamic assemblies of macroscopic particles are of direct relevance to geophysical and industrial processes and may also be used as easily studied analogs to micro- or nano-scale systems, or model systems for microbiological, zoological, and even anthropological phenomena. We study vibrated mixtures of elongated particles, demonstrating that the inclusion of differing particle "species" may profoundly alter a system's dynamics and physical structure in various diverse manners. The phase behavior observed suggests that our system, despite its athermal nature, obeys a minimum free energy principle analogous to that observed for thermodynamic systems. We demonstrate that systems of exclusively spherical objects, which form the basis of numerous theoretical frameworks in many scientific disciplines, represent only a narrow region of a wide, multidimensional phase space. Thus, our results raise significant questions as to whether such models can accurately describe the behaviors of systems outside this highly specialized case.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics