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What’s Kelvin’s Problem? – Randall D. Kamien

Date: Thu. February 28th, 2002, 4:15 pm-5:15 pm
Location: Rockefeller 301

We discuss the physics and mathematics of sphere packing and minimal surfaces and use these to explain the crystal symmetries found in macromolecular, supramolecular micellar materials and charged colloids. In the case of molecular assemblies, we argue that the packing entropy of the hard micellar cores is frustrated by the entropic interaction of their brush-like coronas. The observed crystal structures correspond to the Kelvin and Weaire-Phelan minimal foams. We show that these structures are stable for reasonable areal entropy densities.

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