Mechanical Yield in Amorphous Solids: A First-Order Phase Transition

Prabhat K. Jaiswal, Itamar Procaccia, Corrado Rainone, Murari Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amorphous solids yield at a critical value of the strain (in strain-controlled experiments); for larger strains, the average stress can no longer increase - the system displays an elastoplastic steady state. A long-standing riddle in the materials community is what the difference is between the microscopic states of the material before and after yield. Explanations in the literature are material specific, but the universality of the phenomenon begs a universal answer. We argue here that there is no fundamental difference in the states of matter before and after yield, but the yield is a bona fide first-order phase transition between a highly restricted set of possible configurations residing in a small region of phase space to a vastly rich set of configurations which include many marginally stable ones. To show this, we employ an order parameter of universal applicability, independent of the microscopic interactions, that is successful in quantifying the transition in an unambiguous manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number085501
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - 23 Feb 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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