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M&Ms and sphere packing


Experiments and simulations have found M&Ms to have a very good packing density. They achieve a 71% density in random arrangements, compared to 64% for spheres (and 74% for regularly stacked spheres).

You've got to love M&Ms ;-)

Sphere packing problem (Wikipedia).
Sphere packing problem (Mathworld).

Roland Piquepaille points out "A team of computer scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI) has just developed Contpack, a 3D software to solve this problem and to maximize the volume utilization of containers".

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