Published in Physical Review Letters, Volume 91, Issue 10, September 5, 2003, pages 107002.1-107002.4.
Copyright © 2003 American Physical Society. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Physical Society. The following article appeared in Physical Review Letters and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.91.107002.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Karl Saunders was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Extended systems driven through strong disorder are modeled generically using coarse-grained degrees of freedom that interact elastically in the directions parallel to the drive and slip along at least one of the directions transverse to the motion. In the limit of infinite-range elastic and viscous coupling this model has a tricritical point separating a region where the depinning is continuous, in the universality class of elastic depinning, from a region where depinning is hysteretic. Many of the collective transport models discussed in the literature are special cases of the generic model.