Heterogeneous Viscoelasticity: A Combined Theory of Dynamic and Elastic Heterogeneity

Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Jul 3;115(1):015901. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.015901. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


We present a heterogeneous version of Maxwell's theory of viscoelasticity based on the assumption of spatially fluctuating local viscoelastic coefficients. The model is solved in coherent-potential approximation. The theory predicts an Arrhenius-type temperature dependence of the viscosity in the vanishing-frequency limit, independent of the distribution of the activation energies. It is shown that this activation energy is generally different from that of a diffusing particle with the same barrier-height distribution, which explains the violation of the Stokes-Einstein relation observed frequently in glasses. At finite but low frequencies, the theory describes low-temperature asymmetric alpha relaxation. As examples, we report the good agreement obtained for selected inorganic, metallic, and organic glasses. At high frequencies, the theory reduces to heterogeneous elasticity theory, which explains the occurrence of the boson peak and related vibrational anomalies.