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Phys Rev Lett. 2000 Oct 16;85(16):3528-31.

Soap froths and crystal structures

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6396, USA.


We propose a physical mechanism to explain the crystal symmetries found in macromolecular and supramolecular micellar materials. We argue that the packing entropy of the hard micellar cores is frustrated by the entropic interaction of their brushlike coronas. The latter interaction is treated as a surface effect between neighboring Voronoi cells. 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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