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rhombohedral packing

1. n. [Geology]

The most compact arrangement in space of uniform spheres (atoms and molecules in mineral crystals, or grains in sedimentary rocks) that results in a structure having no more than 26% porosity. Rhombohedral packing is more stable mechanically than cubic packing. Cubic packing is the most porous packing arrangement, with about 47% porosity in the ideal situation. Most sediments, however, are not uniform spheres of the same size, nor can they be arranged in a cubic structure naturally, so most sediments have much less than 47% porosity of ideal cubic packing and commonly less than the 26% porosity of ideal rhombohedral packing.

See: compactioncubic packingmineralporositysedimentarysorting

Rhombohedral packing of spheres.
Rhombohedral packing of spheres.

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