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Mechanical response of glassy materials : theory and simulation

Abstract : It is commonly acknowledged that the mechanical properties and the rheology of a wide class of amorphous glassy materials involves – in contrast to dislocations in crystals – localized structural rearrangements that can form through a cascade mechanism shear bands. The phenomenon of strain localization has been observed experimentally in alloys, metallic and covalent glasses, polymers, complex fluids, granular media, foams, as well as in numerous simulations. This complex mechanical response remains poorly understood at a microscopical level and the origin of the plastic flow in driven glasses cannot be unambiguously attributed to either a local origin or to purely dynamic processes independently of any structural origin. In this thesis we approach these problems by the use of athermal atomistic simulations on a model Lennard-Jones glass. We compute the locally averaged elasticity tensor of the glass at a nanometric level. At this scale, the glass appears as a composite material composed of a rigid scaffolding and of soft zones. Moreover we use this local elastic order parameter to relate structure and dynamics in the sheared glass. The detailed analysis of the plastic deformation at different shear-rates shows that the glass follows different flow regimes. Below a system size dependent critical shear-rate the mechanical response reaches a quasistatic limit (finite size effects, cascades of plastic rearrangements, yield stress) while at higher shear rates the rheological properties are determined by the externally applied shear-rate. In the later regime we report on the growth of a cooperativity length scale and discuss the scaling of this length with shear-rate.
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Michel Tsamados. Mechanical response of glassy materials : theory and simulation. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I, 2009. English. ⟨NNT : 2009LYO10312⟩. ⟨tel-00466081v2⟩

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