Strain localization in a shear transformation zone model for amorphous solids

Mary Elizabeth Manning, J. S. Langer, J. M. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


We model a sheared disordered solid using the theory of shear transformation zones (STZs). In this mean-field continuum model the density of zones is governed by an effective temperature that approaches a steady state value as energy is dissipated. We compare the STZ model to simulations by Shi [Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 185505 (2007)], finding that the model generates solutions that fit the data, exhibit strain localization, and capture important features of the localization process. We show that perturbations to the effective temperature grow due to an instability in the transient dynamics, but unstable systems do not always develop shear bands. Nonlinear energy dissipation processes interact with perturbation growth to determine whether a material exhibits strain localization. By estimating the effects of these interactions, we derive a criterion that determines which materials exhibit shear bands based on the initial conditions alone. We also show that the shear band width is not set by an inherent diffusion length scale but instead by a dynamical scale that depends on the imposed strain rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056106
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 13 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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