Plastic deformation of a permanently bonded network: Stress relaxation by pleats

S Ganguly and D Das and J Horbach and P Sollich and S Karmakar and S Sengupta, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 149, 184503 (2018).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5051312

We show that a flat two dimensional network of connected vertices, when stretched, may deform plastically by producing "pleats", system spanning linear structures with width comparable to the lattice spacing, where the network overlaps on itself. To understand the pleating process, we introduce an external field that couples to local non-affine displacements, i.e., those displacements of neighbouring vertices that cannot be represented as a local affine strain. We obtain both zero and finite temperature phase diagrams in the strain-field plane. Pleats occur here as a result of an equilibrium first-order transition from the homogeneous network to a heterogeneous phase where stress is localised within pleats and eliminated elsewhere. We show that in the thermodynamic limit, the un-pleated state is always metastable at vanishing field for infinitesimal strain. Plastic deformation of the initially homogeneous network is akin to the decay of a metastable phase via a dynamical transition. We make predictions concerning local stress distributions and thermal effects associated with pleats which may be observable in suitable experimental systems. Published by AIP Publishing.

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