Let’s say you’ve 25,000 dice to stack. What’s the best way to go about it?
John Shepherd discovered this article from APS Physics and re-shared it on BoardGeme Geek. It’s a good technique if you happen to make and sell dice, or your lorry carrying 216,000 d6 just tipped over, and you’ve got a lot of scooping and stacking to do. But for the rest of us, I wonder…
You see, it’ll take 10,000 or so twists of a large tube to sort those dice. They can’t be lazy twists either. Each of the alternating oscillations needs to accelerate to at least 0.5 g, or you won’t produce enough of an effect to sort the dice out.
You might wonder why scientists were looking into this problem in the first place? In a more general sense, sorting granules of things into a small space as possible is a common industry challenge. The convention wisdom is to use a simple vibration of tapping as that can make collections more compact over time.
There is a time-lapse video of the dice being sorted over at APS Physics, but it’s only a few photographs taken over an extended interval and therefore not as dramatic.
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