Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Soft matter

Brittle for breakfast

Crushing a brittle porous medium such as a box of cereal causes the grains to break up and rearrange themselves. A lattice spring model based on simple physical assumptions gives rise to behaviours that are complex enough to reproduce diverse compaction patterns.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Guillard, F., Golshan, P., Shen, L., Valdes, J. R. & Einav, I. Nature Phys. 11, 835–838 (2015).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Aste, T. & Weaire, D. The Pursuit of Perfect Packing (IOP, 2000).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  3. Bernal, J. D. & Mason, J. Nature 385, 910–911 (1960).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Lozano, C., Lumay, G., Zuriguel, I., Hidalgo, R. C. & Garcimartin, A. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 068001 (2012).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Valdes, J. R., Fernandes, F. L. & Einav, I. Granul. Matter 14, 71–76 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Mersch, E., Lumay, G., Boschini, F. & Vandewalle, N. Phys. Rev. E 81, 041309 (2010).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Barraclough, T. W. et al. Preprint at (2014).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nicolas Vandewalle.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Vandewalle, N. Brittle for breakfast. Nature Phys 11, 802–803 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing