## Few interesting reads

### August 5, 2009

From the latest PNAS:

[1] The elastic modulus, percolation, and disaggregation of strongly interacting, intersecting antiplane cracks

P M Davis and L Knopoff

We study the modulus of a medium containing a varying density of nonintersecting and intersecting antiplane cracks. The modulus of nonintersecting, strongly interacting, 2D antiplane cracks obeys a mean-field theory for which the mean field on a crack inserted in a random ensemble is the applied stress. The result of a self-consistent calculation in the nonintersecting case predicts zero modulus at finite packing, which is physically impossible. Differential self-consistent theories avoid the zero modulus problem, but give results that are more compliant than those of both mean-field theory and computer simulations. For problems in which antiplane cracks are allowed to intersect and form crack clusters or larger effective cracks, percolation at finite packing is expected when the shear modulus vanishes. At low packing factor, the modulus follows the dilute, mean-field curve, but with increased packing, mutual interactions cause the modulus to be less than the mean-field result and to vanish at the percolation threshold. The “nodes-links-blobs” model predicts a power-law approach to the percolation threshold at a critical packing factor of p c = 4.426. We conclude that a power-law variation of modulus with packing, with exponent 1.3 drawn tangentially to the mean-field nonintersecting relation and passing through the percolation threshold, can be expected to be a good approximation. The approximation is shown to be consistent with simulations of intersecting rectangular cracks at all packing densities through to the percolation value for this geometry, p c = 0.4072.

From the latest issue of Phil. Mag.:

The effect of a high magnetic field on the morphology of the MnBi primary phase during the directional solidification has been investigated experimentally and the results show that an application of a high magnetic field has enhanced the faceted growth and the coarsening of the MnBi primary phase. This may be attributed to the effect of a high magnetic field on the diffusion of the solute Mn and the growth anisotropy of the MnBi crystal.

[2] A new counter-example to Kelvin’s conjecture on minimal surfaces

R Gabbrielli

A new counter-example to Kelvin’s conjecture on minimal surfaces has been found. The conjecture stated that the minimal surface area partition of space into cells of equal volume was a tiling by truncated octahedra with slightly curved faces (K). Weaire and Phelan found a counter-example whose periodic unit includes two different tiles, a dodecahedron and a polyhedron with 14 faces (WP). Successively, Sullivan showed the existence of an infinite number of partitions by polyhedra having only pentagonal and hexagonal faces that included WP, the so-called tetrahedrally close packed structures (TCP). A part of this domain contains structures with lower surface area than K. Here, we present a new partition with lower surface area than K, the first periodic foam containing in the same structure quadrilateral, pentagonal and hexagonal faces, in ratios that are very close to those experimentally found in real foams by Matzke. This and other new partitions have been generated via topological modifications of the Voronoi diagram of spatially periodic sets of points obtained as local maxima of the stationary solution of the 3D Swift-Hohenberg partial differential equation in a triply periodic boundary, with pseudorandom initial conditions. The motivation for this work is to show the efficacy of the adopted method in producing new counter-examples to Kelvin’s conjecture, and ultimately its potential in discovering a periodic partition with lower surface area than the Weaire-Phelan foam. The method seems tailored for the problem examined, especially when compared to methods that imply the minimization of a potential between points, where a criterion for neighboring points needs to be defined. The existence of partitions having a lower surface area than K and an average number of faces greater than the maximum value allowed by the TCP domain of 13.5 suggests the presence of other partitions in this range.

[3] The cross-slip energy unresolved

G Schoeck

Recent progress in dislocation dynamics modeling of work hardening has reawakened the interest in cross-slip, which can lead to dynamic recovery in fcc crystals. It is pointed out that neither continuum theory nor atomic modeling at present are able to reliably derive the reaction path and the activation energy of cross-slip. Classical continuum theory with the concept of Volterra dislocations fails, because during the nucleation process the effective Burgers vectors of the partials are not conserved and the specific atomic misfit energy changes. Atomistic modeling fails, because the ad hoc potentials used at present are unable to reliably predict the energies for atomic displacements far from equilibrium. It is, however, possible to derive the stress conditions necessary in order that cross-slip can spread. An important contribution to the driving force results from the ‘Escaig stress’ acting on the edge components of the partials forming a dissociated screw dislocation and changing their separation. Contrary to the widely held assumption, the driving force is however independent of whether the dislocation in the cross-slip plane will be expanded or compressed.