Mechanical and microscopic properties of the reversible plastic regime in a 2D jammed material

Phys Rev Lett. 2014 Jan 17;112(2):028302. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.028302. Epub 2014 Jan 15.


At the microscopic level, plastic flow of a jammed, disordered material consists of a series of particle rearrangements that cannot be reversed by subsequent deformation. An infinitesimal deformation of the same material has no rearrangements. Yet between these limits, there may be a self-organized plastic regime with rearrangements, but with no net change upon reversing a deformation. We measure the oscillatory response of a jammed interfacial material, and directly observe rearrangements that couple to bulk stress and dissipate energy, but do not always give rise to global irreversibility.