Abstract

We study the approach to global breakdown in disordered media driven by increasing external forces. We first analyze the problem by mean-field theory, showing that the failure process can be described as a first-order phase transition, similarly to the case of thermally activated fracture in homogeneous media. Then we quantitatively confirm the predictions of the mean-field theory using numerical simulations of discrete models. Widely distributed avalanches and the corresponding mean-field scaling are explained by the long-range nature of elastic interactions. We discuss the analogy of our results to driven disordered first-order transitions and spinodal nucleation in magnetic systems.

Notes

Originally published in Physical Review Letters, v.78 no.8 (1997), pp.1408-1411. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.78.1408. Dr. Vespignani is affiliated with Northeastern University as of the time of deposit.

Keywords

disordered media, phase transition

Subject Categories

Mean field theory

Disciplines

Physics

Publisher

American Physical Society

Publication Date

2-24-1997

Rights Information

©1997 American Physical Society

Rights Holder

American Physical Society

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