Observation of the Kibble–Zurek mechanism in microscopic acoustic crackling noises

H. O. Ghaffari, W. A. Griffth, P.M. Benson, K. Xia, R. P. Young

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Characterizing the fast evolution of microstructural defects is key to understanding “crackling” phenomena during the deformation of solid materials. For example, it has been proposed using atomistic simulations of crack propagation in elastic materials that the formation of a nonlinear hyperelastic or plastic zone around moving crack tips controls crack velocity. To date, progress in understanding the physics of this critical zone has been limited due to the lack of data describing the complex physical processes that operate near microscopic crack tips. We show, by analyzing many acoustic emission events during rock deformation experiments, that the signature of this nonlinear zone maps directly to crackling noises. In particular, we characterize a weakening zone that forms near the moving crack tips using functional networks, and we determine the scaling law between the formation of damages (defects) and the traversal rate across the critical point of transition. Moreover, we show that the correlation length near the transition remains effectively frozen. This is the main underlying hypothesis behind the Kibble-Zurek mechanism (KZM) and the obtained power-law scaling verifies the main prediction of KZM.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21210
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2016


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