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Scientific paper about M&M's in a jar! (.pdf file)
July 30, 2009 6:01 PM   Subscribe

Improving the Density of Jammed Disordered Packings using Ellipsoids "We suggest that the higher density is directly related to the higher number of degrees of free- dom per particle and thus the larger number of particle contacts required to mechanically stabilize the packing... Our results have implications for a broad range of scientific disciplines, ranging from the properties of granular media and ceramics to glass formation and discrete geometry."
posted by ShadePlant (17 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
On average, I can reach a φ ~ 0.995 with a good game of Tetris.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:10 PM on July 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Now if I could just find a 'Guess How Many M&M's...' contest
posted by jfrancis at 6:12 PM on July 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Several sets of experiments were performed to determine the packing fraction. A square box, 8.8 × 8.8 cm2 was filled to a height of 2.5 cm while shaking and tapping the container.
...A five liter sample of regular candies similar to that shown in (Fig. 1A) was scanned in a medical MRI at Princeton Hospital.
I would have thought that such low-hanging candyfruit would have been picked long ago! Nice to see some straightforward use of M&Ms in research.
posted by Llama-Lime at 6:19 PM on July 30, 2009


Wow. This is so cool. And honestly a really interesting problem to try to solve.
posted by strixus at 6:22 PM on July 30, 2009


I see a progression from ball bearings to M&Ms. Once they get jellybeans down, cheap raffles will have nowhere left to go!
posted by cobaltnine at 6:34 PM on July 30, 2009


In video form (good part starts at about 3:00)
posted by DU at 7:06 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guess the number of X in volume Y puzzles could just go heterogeneous. Packing an assortment of jelly bellies, M&M's and mints will still be a tough problem to estimate.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:15 PM on July 30, 2009


If you read only one treatise on jammed disordered packings this year, make this the one.
posted by Mister_A at 7:41 PM on July 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


If you read only one treatise on jammed disordered packings this year, there's something terribly wrong with you.
posted by Pinback at 8:03 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pinback: Should we be reading more, or...?
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:26 PM on July 30, 2009


Here is a link with pics by some of the same authors cause I quit maths after factoring trinomials and some of you did too.
posted by vapidave at 10:38 PM on July 30, 2009


yeah, my balls get squished when i wear tight underwear, too...
posted by sexyrobot at 11:46 PM on July 30, 2009


If you read only one treatise on jammed disordered packings this year, make this the one.

So you're saying I should fit this into my schedule?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:27 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I sure could have used this research when I tried to figure out how long it would take to eat a car made of skittles.
posted by Plutor at 7:45 AM on July 31, 2009


wouldn't it be more fun to drive the car made out of skittles? but now that reminds me of the time some friends and i figured out how much of the grand canyon you would need if you used it as a mass grave for y'know, everyone. we figured that the grand canyon was 24 cubic miles (24 miles long, 1 mile deep and wide)...i forget the numbers we used for people, but i do remember being disappointed that they would only take up about 1 cubic mile. i mean c'mon, if you're standing at the top, that's not even enough to overpower the beautiful natural majesty of the scene with the layer of hideous gore at the bottom (i figure about halfway ought to do it). of course, we weren't using any sort of packing fraction. i think we assumed that we would have access to some sort of compactor.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:40 AM on July 31, 2009


i think we assumed that we would have access to some sort of compactor.

I suspect that corpses are self-compacting once ten or so layers are piled on top.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:12 PM on July 31, 2009


1) cool!
2) I want some M&Ms now.
posted by contessa at 1:58 PM on July 31, 2009


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