Spontaneous patterning of confined granular rods

Jennifer Galanis*, Daniel Harries, Dan L. Sackett, Wolfgang Losert, Ralph Nossal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Vertically vibrated rod-shaped granular materials confined to quasi-2D containers self-organize into distinct patterns. We find, consistent with theory and simulation, a density dependent isotropic-nematic transition. Along the walls, rods interact sterically to form a wetting layer. For high rod densities, complex patterns emerge as a result of competition between bulk and boundary alignment. A continuum elastic energy accounting for nematic distortion and local wall anchoring reproduces the structures seen experimentally.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number028002
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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