The role of rigidity in controlling material failure

Michelle M. Driscoll, Bryan Gin Ge Chen, Thomas H. Beuman, Stephan Ulrich, Sidney R. Nagel, Vincenzo Vitelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We investigate how material rigidity acts as a key control parameter for the failure of solids under stress. In both experiments and simulations, we demonstrate that material failure can be continuously tuned by varying the underlying rigidity of the material while holding the amount of disorder constant. As the rigidity transition is approached, failure due to the application of uniaxial stress evolves from brittle cracking to system-spanning diffuse breaking. This evolution in failure behavior can be parameterized by the width of the crack. As a system becomes more and more floppy, this crack width increases until it saturates at the system size. Thus, the spatial extent of the failure zone can be used as a direct probe for material rigidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10813-10817
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 27 2016


  • Cracks
  • Failure
  • Glasses
  • Jamming
  • Metamaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of rigidity in controlling material failure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this