Published in Physical Review Letters, Volume 112, Issue 028302, January 17, 2014, pages 1-5.
At the time of publication, author Nathan Keim was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.028302.
At the microscopic level, plastic flow of a jammed, disordered material consists of a series of particle rearrangements that cannot be reversed by subsequent deformation. An infinitesimal deformation of the same material has no rearrangements. Yet between these limits, there may be a self-organized plastic regime with rearrangements, but with no net change upon reversing a deformation. We measure the oscillatory response of a jammed interfacial material, and directly observe rearrangements that couple to bulk stress and dissipate energy, but do not always give rise to global irreversibility.
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