Researchers observe phase transition in artificially created flock

phys.org | 8/30/2019 | Staff
monimoni (Posted by) Level 3
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A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in France has observed a phase transition in an artificially created flock. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes how they created their artificial flock and the events that led to a phase transition.

Scientists trying to understand crowd behavior generally create computer models meant to mimic human behavior under crowded conditions—but such simulations are limited by the parameters that are used to create them. Most in the field agree on the need to recreate crowd or flocking behavior physically in a lab. In this new effort, the researchers have built on prior work with an artificial crowd, and have found that under certain conditions it underwent a phase transition similar to water freezing to an ice state.

Effort - Team - Members - Crowd - Consisting

Working on a prior effort, some of the team members created an artificial crowd consisting of millions of beads suspended in a liquid between two plates of glass. The plates were joined in a way that allowed the beads to move around the outer edges of an oval—similar to cars on a partially three-dimensional race track. The beads were forced to move in one direction by applying an electric field—the Quincke effect spun the beads, which pushed them through the liquid in the same direction. Also, due to a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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