Department of Physics Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2-26-2016

Publication Source

Physical Review Letters

Volume

116

Issue

8

Start Page

088001-1

Last Page

088001-5

DOI

10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.088001

Abstract

Characterizing structural inhomogeneity is an essential step in understanding the mechanical response of amorphous materials. We introduce a threshold-free measure based on the field of vectors pointing from the center of each particle to the centroid of the Voronoi cell in which the particle resides. These vectors tend to point in toward regions of high free volume and away from regions of low free volume, reminiscent of sinks and sources in a vector field. We compute the local divergence of these vectors, where positive values correspond to overpacked regions and negative values identify underpacked regions within the material. Distributions of this divergence are nearly Gaussian with zero mean, allowing for structural characterization using only the moments of the distribution. We explore how the standard deviation and skewness vary with the packing fraction for simulations of bidisperse systems and find a kink in these moments that coincides with the jamming transition.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© 2016 American Physical Society. You can view the original article at: https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.088001

Keywords

Research areas, structural properties, physical systems, amorphous materials, packing and jamming problems, condensed matter, material physics

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Date Posted:11 October 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.