Universal mechanical instabilities in the energy landscape of amorphous solids: Evidence from athermal quasistatic expansion

UA Dattani and S Karmakar and P Chaudhuri, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 106, 055004 (2022).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.106.055004

Using numerical simulations, we study the failure of an amorphous solid under athermal quasistatic expansion starting from a homogeneous high- density state. During the expansion process, plastic instabilities occur, manifested via sudden jumps in pressure and energy, with the largest event happening via cavitation leading to the material's yielding. We demonstrate that all these plastic events are characterized by saddle-node bifurcation, during which the smallest nonzero eigenvalue of the Hessian matrix vanishes via a square-root singularity. We find that after yielding and prior to complete fracture, the statistics of pressure or energy jumps corresponding to the plastic events show subextensive system-size scaling, similar to the case of simple shear but with different exponents. Thus, overall, our paper reveals universal features in the fundamental characteristics during mechanical failure in amorphous solids under any quasistatic deformation protocol.

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