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Breakdown of Elasticity in Amorphous Solids

Abstract : What characterises a solid is its way to respond to external stresses. Ordered solids, such crystals, display an elastic regime followed by a plastic one, both well understood microscopically in terms of lattice distortion and dislocations. For amorphous solids the situation is instead less clear, and the microscopic understanding of the response to deformation and stress is a very active research topic. Several studies have revealed that even in the elastic regime the response is very jerky at low temperature, resembling very much the one of disordered magnetic materials. Here we show that in a very large class of amorphous solids this behaviour emerges by decreasing the temperature as a phase transition where standard elastic behaviour breaks down. At the transition all non-linear elastic modulii diverge and standard elasticity theory does not hold anymore. Below the transition the response to deformation becomes history and time-dependent.
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Giulio Biroli, Pierfrancesco Urbani. Breakdown of Elasticity in Amorphous Solids. Nature Physics, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 12, pp.1130 - 1133. ⟨10.1038/nphys3845⟩. ⟨cea-01462891⟩



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