Google Research

Structure-property relationships from universal signatures of plasticity in disordered solids

  • Ekin Dogus Cubuk
  • Robert Ivancic
  • Samuel S. Schoenholz
  • Danny Strickland
  • Anindita Basu
  • Zoey Davidson
  • Julien Fontaine
  • Jyo Lyn Hor
  • Yun-Ru Huang
  • Y. Jiang
  • Nathan Keim
  • K. D. Koshigan
  • J. A. Lefever
  • T. Liu
  • X. -G. Ma
  • D. J. Magagnosc
  • E. Morrow
  • C. P. Ortiz
  • J. M. Rieser
  • A. Shavit
  • T. Still
  • Y. Xu
  • Y. Zhang
  • Kerstin N. Nordstrom
  • Paulo E. Arratia
  • Robert W. Carpick
  • Douglas J. Durian
  • Zahra Fakhraai
  • Douglas J. Jerolmack
  • Daeyoon Lee
  • Ju Li
  • Robert Riggleman
  • Kevin T. Turner
  • Arjun G. Yodh
  • Daniel S. Gianola
  • Andrea J. Liu
Science (2017)


When deformed beyond their elastic limits, crystalline solids flow plastically via particle rearrangements localized around structural defects. Disordered solids also flow, but without obvious structural defects. We link structure to plasticity in disordered solids via a microscopic structural quantity, “softness,” designed by machine learning to be maximally predictive of rearrangements. Experimental results and computations enabled us to measure the spatial correlations and strain response of softness, as well as two measures of plasticity: the size of rearrangements and the yield strain. All four quantities maintained remarkable commonality in their values for disordered packings of objects ranging from atoms to grains, spanning 7 to 13 orders of magnitude in diameter and elastic modulus. These commonalities suggest that the spatial correlations and strain response of softness correspond to rearrangement size and yield strain, respectively.

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