Packing of crystalline structures of binary hard spheres: An analytical approach and application to amorphization

H.J.H. Brouwers

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    The geometrical stability of the three lattices of the cubic crystal system, viz. face-centered cubic (fcc), body-centered cubic (bcc), and simple cubic (sc), consisting of bimodal discrete hard spheres, and the transition to amorphous packing is studied. First, the random close packing (rcp) fraction of binary mixtures of amorphously packed spheres is recapitulated. Next, the packing of a binary mixture of hard spheres in randomly disordered cubic structures is analyzed, resulting in original analytical expressions for the unit cell volume and the packing fraction, and which are also valid for the other five crystal systems. The bimodal fcc lattice parameter appears to be in close agreement with empirical hard sphere data from literature, and this parameter could be used to distinguish the size mismatch effect from all other effects in distorted binary lattices of materials. Here, as a first model application, bimodal amorphous and crystalline fcc/bcc packing fractions are combined, yielding the optimum packing configuration, which depends on mixture composition and diameter ratio only. Maps of the closest packing mode are established and applied to colloidal mixtures of polydisperse spheres and to binary alloys of bcc, fcc, and hcp metals. The extensive comparison between the analytical expressions derived here and the published numerical and empirical data yields good agreement. Hence, it is seen that basic space-filling theories on “simple” noninteracting hard spheres are a valuable tool for the study of crystalline materials.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number041304
    Number of pages16
    JournalPhysical review E: Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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