Quantitative earthquake-like statistical properties of the flow of soft materials below yield stress.


Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560012, India. [Email]


The flow behavior of soft materials below the yield stress can be rich and is not fully understood. Here, we report shear-stress-induced reorganization of three-dimensional solid-like soft materials formed by closely packed nematic domains of surfactant micelles and a repulsive Wigner glass formed by anisotropic clay nano-discs having ionic interactions. The creep response of both the systems below the yield stress results in angular velocity fluctuations of the shearing plate showing large temporal burst-like events that resemble seismic foreshocks-aftershocks data measuring the ground motion during earthquake avalanches. We find that the statistical properties of the quake events inside such a burst map on to the scaling relations for magnitude and frequency distribution of earthquakes, given by Gutenberg-Richter and Omori laws, and follow a power-law distribution of the inter-occurrence waiting time. In situ polarized optical microscopy reveals that during these events the system self-organizes to a much stronger solid-like state.

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