Phys. Rev. Focus28, 3 (2011) – Published July 18, 2011
The structures within a pile of soil or grain that allows it to bear weight depend only on the average number of neighbors for each particle, not on any details of the types of particles or even on the presence of gravity.
Dynamical heterogeneity, spatiotemporal fluctuations in local dynamical behavior, may explain the statistical mechanics of amorphous solids that are mechanically rigid but have a disordered structure similar to that of a dense liquid.
Phys. Rev. Focus26, 11 (2010) – Published September 10, 2010
Simulated soils made of glass beads and various pastes dry at different rates, depending on the properties of their smallest particles. The work suggests new ways to study an aspect of soil that is critical for agriculture.