From Plastic Flow To Brittle Fracture: Role Of Microscopic Friction In Amorphous Solids

Kamran Karimi, David Amitrano, and Jerome Weiss

Plasticity in soft amorphous materials typically involves collective deformation patterns that emerge upon intense shearing. The microscopic basis of amorphous plasticity has been commonly established through the notion of “Eshelby” events, localized abrupt rearrangements that induce flow in the surrounding material via non-local elastic-type interactions.This universal mechanism in flowing disordered solids has been proposed despite their diversity in terms of scales, microscopic constituents, or interactions. Here in this work, we argue that the presence of frictional interactions in granular solids alters the dynamics of flow by nucleating micro shear cracks that continually coalesce to build up system-spanning fracture-like formations on approach to failure. The plastic-to-brittle failure transition is uniquely controlled by the degree of frictional resistance which is in essence similar to the role of heterogeneities that separate the abrupt and smooth yielding regimes in glassy structures.