### Abstract

It remains an open question whether statistical mechanics approaches apply to random packings of athermal particles. Although a jamming phase diagram has recently been proposed for hard spheres with varying friction, here we use a frictionless emulsion system in the presence of depletion forces to sample the available phase space of packing configurations. Using confocal microscopy, we access their packing microstructure and test the theoretical assumptions. As a function of attraction, our packing protocol under gravity leads to well-defined jammed structures in which global density initially increases above random close packing and subsequently decreases monotonically. Microscopically, the fluctuations in parameters describing each particle, such as the coordination number, number of neighbors, and local packing fraction, are for all attractions in excellent agreement with a local stochastic model, indicating that long-range correlations are not important. Furthermore, the distributions of local cell volumes can be collapsed onto a universal curve using the predicted k-gamma distribution, in which the shape parameter k is fixed by the polydispersity while the effect of attraction is captured by rescaling the average cell volume. Within the Edwards statistical mechanics framework, this result measures the decrease in compactivity with global density, which represents a direct experimental test of a jamming phase diagram in athermal systems. The success of these theoretical tools in describing yet another class of materials gives support to the much-debated statistical physics of jammed granular matter.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 4286-4291 |

Number of pages | 6 |

Journal | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America |

Volume | 108 |

Issue number | 11 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Mar 15 2011 |

### Keywords

- Depletion attraction
- Granocentric model
- Navigation map
- Thermodynamics
- Voronoi tessellation

### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- General

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## Cite this

*Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America*,

*108*(11), 4286-4291. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1017716108