Les avalanches dans les systèmes vitreux

Abstract : Many systems that are somehow characterized by a degree of disorder sharea similar structure: the energy landscape has many sample-dependent localenergy minima. When a small external perturbation is applied to the systemat low temperature, it is reasonable to expect that the dynamics will leadthe system from a minimum to another, thus displaying a random and jerkyresponse. The discontinuous jumps that one observes are called avalanches,and the focus of this work is the computation of their distribution. Oneof the results is indeed the development of a framework that allows thecomputation of this distribution in infinite-dimensional systems that canbe described within a replica symmetry breaking ansatz. We apply theresults to one of the simplest models of structural glasses, namely densepackings of (harmonic) soft spheres, either at jamming or at larger densities,subject to a shear transformation that induces jumps both in the totalenergy and in the shear stress of the system. We argue that, when theshear strain is small enough, the avalanche distribution develops a power-lawbehavior, whose exponent can be directly related to the functional orderparameter of the replica symmetry breaking solution. This exponent is alsorelated to the distribution of contact forces (or at least of the contact forcesbetween some of the spheres), whose asymptotic behavior is known not todepend strongly on the spatial dimension; for this reason, we compare theinfinite-dimensional prediction with three dimensional simulations of thesame systems and, remarkably, we find a good agreement. In the rest of thethesis we compare our results with previous works, and we also discuss someof the consequences that the avalanche distribution lead to, concerning thestatistical elastic properties of dense granular media.
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Stefano Spigler. Les avalanches dans les systèmes vitreux. Physique [physics]. PSL Research University, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PSLET021⟩. ⟨tel-02313838⟩

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