Aging and Failure of a Polymer Chain under Tension

Harish Charan, Alex Hansen, H. G. E. Hentschel, Itamar Procaccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rupture of a polymer chain maintained at temperature T under fixed tension is prototypical to a wide array of systems failing under constant external stress and random perturbations. Past research focused on analytic and numerical studies of the mean rate of collapse of such a chain. Surprisingly, an analytic calculation of the probability distribution function (PDF) of collapse rates appears to be lacking. Since rare events of rapid collapse can be important and even catastrophic, we present here a theory of this distribution, with a stress on its tail of fast rates. We show that the tail of the PDF is a power law with a universal exponent that is theoretically determined. Extensive numerics validate the offered theory. Lessons pertaining to other problems of the same type are drawn.

Original languageEnglish
Article number085501
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - 26 Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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