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Physics  2010 

Finding bridges in packings of colloidal spheres

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We identify putative load-bearing structures (bridges) in experimental colloidal systems studied by confocal microscopy. Bridges are co-operative structures that have been used to explain stability and inhomogeneous force transmission in simulated granular packings with a range of densities. We show that bridges similar to those found in granular simulations are present in real experimental colloidal packings. We describe critically the bridge-finding procedure for real experimental data and propose a new criterion-Lowest Mean Squared Separation (LSQS)-for selecting optimum stabilisations.


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