Friction and Adhesion Govern Yielding of Disordered Nanoparticle Packings: A Multiscale Adhesive Discrete Element Method Study

XH Liu and JA Lefever and D Lee and J Zhang and RW Carpick and J Li, NANO LETTERS, 21, 7989-7997 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c01952

Recent studies have demonstrated that amorphous materials, from granular packings to atomic glasses, share multiple striking similarities, including a universal onset strain level for yield. This is despite vast differences in length scales and in the constituent particles' interactions. However, the nature of localized particle rearrangements is not well understood, and how local interactions affect overall performance remains unknown. Here, we introduce a multiscale adhesive discrete element method to simulate recent novel experiments of disordered nanoparticle packings indented and imaged with single nanoparticle resolution. The simulations exhibit multiple behaviors matching the experiments. By directly monitoring spatial rearrangements and interparticle bonding/debonding under the packing's surface, we uncover the mechanisms of the yielding and hardening phenomena observed in experiments. Interparticle friction and adhesion synergistically toughen the packings and retard plastic deformation. Moreover, plasticity can result from bond switching without particle rearrangements. These results furnish insights for understanding yielding in amorphous materials generally.

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