Context. A porous and/or fractal description can generally be applied where particles have undergone coagulation into aggregates. Aims. To characterise finite-sized, porous and fractal particles and to understand the possible limitations of these descriptions. Methods. We use simple structure, lattice and network considerations to determine the structural properties of irregular particles. Results. We find that, for finite-sized aggregates, the terms porosity and fractal dimension may be of limited usefulness and show with some critical and limiting assumptions, that highly-porous aggregates (porosity > 80%) may not be constructable. We also investigate their effective cross-sections using a simple cubic model. Conclusions. In place of the terms porosity and fractal dimension, for finite-sized aggregates, we propose the readily-determinable quantities of inflation, I (a measure of the solid filling factor and size), and dimensionality, D (a measure of the shape). These terms can be applied to characterise any form of particle, be it an irregular, homogeneous solid or a highly-extended aggregate.
Mon, 9 Nov 15
Comments: 13 pages, 8 figures