The Impact of Interfacial Curvature on the Packing of Shape Anisotropic Particles

Gabrielle Jones, University of Michigan

Photo of Gabrielle Jones

Pickering emulsions are stabilized by the addition of solid particles at the interface between two phases. Much like how a soccer ball cannot be decorated solely with hexagonal patches, spherical particles that decorate a spherical surface cannot pack into a perfect hexagonal lattice. Here we simulate pickering emulsion systems stabilized using faceted shape anisotropic colloidal particles on the surface of a sphere. Due to the shape anisotropy of the particles they exhibit unique defect patterns that cannot be precisely analyzed using traditional voronoi analyses. We develop techniques to show how particle jamming and void creation disrupt particle packing for the five platonic shapes with interactions modeled using an inverse power law potential. These techniques include an anisotropic voronoi analysis that works using point of closest contact, particle orientation variance, and local particle density. Recent findings demonstrate that cube shaped particles form distinct triangular defect patterns, breaking away from the densest packed square lattice found on surfaces with zero curvature, consistent with expectations from topology. We expect that the four remaining platonic shapes will show analogous defect anomalies.

Abstract Author(s): Gabrielle N. Jones