A field theory of frictionless grain packings in two dimensions is shown to exhibit a zero-temperature critical point at a nonzero value of the packing fraction. The zero-temperature constraint of force balance plays a crucial role in determining the nature of the transition. Two order parameters, < z >, the deviation of the average number of contacts from the isostatic value, and <phi >, the average magnitude of the force per contact, characterize the transition from the jammed (high packing fraction) to the unjammed (low packing fraction state). The critical point has a mixed character with the order parameters showing a jump discontinuity but with fluctuations of the contact force diverging. At the critical point, the distribution of o shows the characteristic plateau observed in static granular piles. The theory makes falsifiable predictions about the spatial fluctuations of the contact forces.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Physical Review Letters|
|Publication status||Published - 4 Nov 2005|