Scaling description of the yielding transition in soft amorphous solids at zero temperature

Jie Lin, Edan Lerner, Alberto Rosso, Matthieu Wyart

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Yield stress materials flow if a sufficiently large shear stress is applied. Although such materials are ubiquitous and relevant for Industry, there is no accepted microscopic description of how they yield, even in the simplest situations in which temperature is negligible and in which flow inhomogeneities such as shear bands or fractures are absent. Here we propose a scaling description of the yielding transition in amorphous solids made of soft particles at zero temperature. Our description makes a connection between the Herschel-Bulkley exponent characterizing the singularity of the flow curve near the yield stress £c, the extension and duration of the avalanches of plasticity observed at threshold, and the density P(x) of soft spots, or shear transformation zones, as a function of the stress increment x beyond which they yield. We argue that the critical exponents of the yielding transition may be expressed in terms of three independent exponents, 0, df, and z, characterizing, respectively, the density of soft spots, the fractal dimension of the avalanches, and their duration. Our description shares some similarity with the depinning transition that occurs when an elastic manifold is driven through a random potential, but also presents some striking differences. We test our arguments in an elastoplastic model, an automaton model similar to those used in depinning, but with a different interaction kernel, and find satisfying agreement with our predictions in both two and three dimensions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)14382-14387
    Number of pages6
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number40
    StatePublished - Oct 7 2014


    • Complex fluid
    • Dynamical phase transition
    • Nonlinear rheology

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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