Unified quantifier of mechanical disorder in solids

Geert Kapteijns, Eran Bouchbinder, Edan Lerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mechanical disorder in solids, which is generated by a broad range of physical processes and controls various material properties, appears in a wide variety of forms. Defining unified and measurable dimensionless quantifiers, allowing quantitative comparison of mechanical disorder across widely different physical systems, is therefore an important goal. Two such coarse-grained dimensionless quantifiers (among others) appear in the literature: one is related to the spectral broadening of discrete phononic bands in finite-size systems (accessible through computer simulations) and the other is related to the spatial fluctuations of the shear modulus in macroscopically large systems. The latter has been recently shown to determine the amplitude of wave attenuation rates in the low-frequency limit (accessible through laboratory experiments). Here, using two alternative and complementary theoretical approaches linked to the vibrational spectra of solids, we derive a basic scaling relation between the two dimensionless quantifiers. This scaling relation, which is supported by simulational data, shows that the two apparently distinct quantifiers are in fact intrinsically related, giving rise to a unified quantifier of mechanical disorder in solids. We further discuss the obtained results in the context of the unjamming transition taking place in soft sphere packings at low confining pressures, in addition to their implications for our understanding of the low-frequency vibrational spectra of disordered solids in general, and in particular those of glassy systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number035001
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review. E
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021


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