We study the rate dependent response of a bistable chain subjected to thermal fluctuations. The study is motivated by the fact that the behavior of this model system is prototypical to a wide range of nonlinear processes in materials physics, biology and chemistry. To account for the stochastic nature of the system response, we formulate a set of governing equations for the evolution of the probability density of meta-stable configurations. Based on this approach, we calculate the behavior for a wide range of parametric values, such as rate, temperature, overall stiffness, and number of elements in the chain. Our results suggest that fundamental characteristics of the response, such as average transition stress and hysteresis, can be captured by a simple law which folds the influence of all these factors into a single non-dimensional quantity. We also show that the applicability of analytical results previously obtained for single-well systems can be extended to systems having multiple wells by proper definition of rate and of the transition stress.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- !!Condensed Matter Physics
- !!Mechanics of Materials
- !!Mechanical Engineering