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Title: Deformed Materials: Towards a Theory of Materials Morphology Dynamics

Abstract

This grant supported work on the response of crystals to external stress. Our primary work described how disordered structural materials break in two (statistical models of fracture in disordered materials), studied models of deformation bursts (avalanches) that mediate deformation on the microscale, and developed continuum dislocation dynamics models for plastic deformation (as when scooping ice cream bends a spoon, Fig. 9). Glass is brittle -- it breaks with almost atomically smooth fracture surfaces. Many metals are ductile -- when they break, the fracture surface is locally sheared and stretched, and it is this damage that makes them hard to break. Bone and seashells are made of brittle material, but they are strong because they are disordered -- lots of little cracks form as they are sheared and near the fracture surface, diluting the external force. We have studied materials like bone and seashells using simulations, mathematical tools, and statistical mechanics models from physics. In particular, we studied the extreme values of fracture strengths (how likely will a beam in a bridge break far below its design strength), and found that the traditional engineering tools could be improved greatly. We also studied fascinating crackling-noise precursors -- systems which formed microcracks ofmore » a broad range of sizes before they broke. Ductile metals under stress undergo irreversible plastic deformation -- the planes of atoms must slide across one another (through the motion of dislocations) to change the overall shape in response to the external force. Microscopically, the dislocations in crystals move in bursts of a broad range of sizes (termed 'avalanches' in the statistical mechanics community, whose motion is deemed 'crackling noise'). In this grant period, we resolved a longstanding mystery about the average shape of avalanches of fixed duration (using tools related to an emergent scale invariance), we developed the fundamental theory describing the shapes of avalanches and how they are affected by the edges of the microscope viewing window, we found that slow creep of dislocations can trigger an oscillating response explaining recent experiments, we explained avalanches under external voltage, and we have studied how avalanches in experiments on the microscale relate to deformation of large samples. Inside the crystals forming the metal, the dislocations arrange into mysterious cellular structures, usually ignored in theories of plasticity. Writing a natural continuum theory for dislocation dynamics, we found that it spontaneously formed walls -- much like models of traffic jams and sonic booms. These walls formed rather realistic cellular structures, which we examined in great detail -- our walls formed fractal structures with fascinating scaling properties, related to those found in turbulent fluids. We found, however, that the numerical and mathematical tools available to solve our equations were not flexible enough to incorporate materials-specific information, and our models did not show the dislocation avalanches seen experimentally. In the last year of this grant, we wrote an invited review article, explaining how plastic flow in metals shares features with other stressed materials, and how tools of statistical physics used in these other systems might be crucial for understanding plasticity.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, Cornell University
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
1366763
Report Number(s):
DOE-CORNELL-46393
DOE Contract Number:
FG02-07ER46393
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; Dislocation; plasticity; fracture; statistical mechanics; renormalization group; martensite

Citation Formats

Sethna, James P. Deformed Materials: Towards a Theory of Materials Morphology Dynamics. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1366763.
Sethna, James P. Deformed Materials: Towards a Theory of Materials Morphology Dynamics. United States. doi:10.2172/1366763.
Sethna, James P. 2017. "Deformed Materials: Towards a Theory of Materials Morphology Dynamics". United States. doi:10.2172/1366763. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1366763.
@article{osti_1366763,
title = {Deformed Materials: Towards a Theory of Materials Morphology Dynamics},
author = {Sethna, James P},
abstractNote = {This grant supported work on the response of crystals to external stress. Our primary work described how disordered structural materials break in two (statistical models of fracture in disordered materials), studied models of deformation bursts (avalanches) that mediate deformation on the microscale, and developed continuum dislocation dynamics models for plastic deformation (as when scooping ice cream bends a spoon, Fig. 9). Glass is brittle -- it breaks with almost atomically smooth fracture surfaces. Many metals are ductile -- when they break, the fracture surface is locally sheared and stretched, and it is this damage that makes them hard to break. Bone and seashells are made of brittle material, but they are strong because they are disordered -- lots of little cracks form as they are sheared and near the fracture surface, diluting the external force. We have studied materials like bone and seashells using simulations, mathematical tools, and statistical mechanics models from physics. In particular, we studied the extreme values of fracture strengths (how likely will a beam in a bridge break far below its design strength), and found that the traditional engineering tools could be improved greatly. We also studied fascinating crackling-noise precursors -- systems which formed microcracks of a broad range of sizes before they broke. Ductile metals under stress undergo irreversible plastic deformation -- the planes of atoms must slide across one another (through the motion of dislocations) to change the overall shape in response to the external force. Microscopically, the dislocations in crystals move in bursts of a broad range of sizes (termed 'avalanches' in the statistical mechanics community, whose motion is deemed 'crackling noise'). In this grant period, we resolved a longstanding mystery about the average shape of avalanches of fixed duration (using tools related to an emergent scale invariance), we developed the fundamental theory describing the shapes of avalanches and how they are affected by the edges of the microscope viewing window, we found that slow creep of dislocations can trigger an oscillating response explaining recent experiments, we explained avalanches under external voltage, and we have studied how avalanches in experiments on the microscale relate to deformation of large samples. Inside the crystals forming the metal, the dislocations arrange into mysterious cellular structures, usually ignored in theories of plasticity. Writing a natural continuum theory for dislocation dynamics, we found that it spontaneously formed walls -- much like models of traffic jams and sonic booms. These walls formed rather realistic cellular structures, which we examined in great detail -- our walls formed fractal structures with fascinating scaling properties, related to those found in turbulent fluids. We found, however, that the numerical and mathematical tools available to solve our equations were not flexible enough to incorporate materials-specific information, and our models did not show the dislocation avalanches seen experimentally. In the last year of this grant, we wrote an invited review article, explaining how plastic flow in metals shares features with other stressed materials, and how tools of statistical physics used in these other systems might be crucial for understanding plasticity.},
doi = {10.2172/1366763},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 6
}

Technical Report:

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