Vibrational and mechanical properties of disordered solids

Change log
Milkus, Rico 

The recent development of a framework called non-affine lattice dynamics made it possible to calculate the elastic moduli of disordered systems directly from their microscopic structure and potential energy landscape at zero temperature. In this thesis different types of disordered systems were studied using this framework. By comparing the shear modulus and vibrational properties of nearest neighbour spring networks based on depleted lattices we were able to show that the dominating quantity of the system’s non-affine reorganisation during shear deformation is the affine force field. Furthermore we found that different implementation of disorder lead to the same behaviour at the isostatic point. Later we studied the effect of long range interaction in such depleted lattices with regard to spatial correlation local elasticity. We found that the implementation of long springs with decaying spring constant reproduced the spatial correlation observed in simulations of Lennard-Jones glasses. Finally we looked at simple freely rotating polymer model chains by extending the framework to angular forces and studied the dependence of the shear modulus and the vibrational density of states (VDOS) and length and bending stiffness of the chains. We found that the effect of chain length on the shear modulus and the vibrational density of states diminishes as it depends on the number of backbone bonds in the system. This number increases fast for short chains as many new backbone bonds are introduced but slows down significantly when the chain length reaches 50 monomers per chain. For the dependence on the bending stiffness we found a rich phenomenology that can be understood by looking at specific motions of the monomers relative the the chain geometry. We were able to trace back the different regimes of the VDOS to the simple model of the triatomic molecule. We also explored the limits of non-affine lattice dynamics when describing systems at temperatures T > 0 and gave an approximate solution for the shear modulus in this case.

Zaccone, Alessio
Soft Matter, Statistical Physics, Polymers, Defected Lattices, Amorphous solids, Boson Peak, Density of States
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge