Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Soft Matter
Via extensive numerical simulations, we study the fluidisation process of dense amorphous materials subjected to an external shear stress, using a three-dimensional colloidal glass model. In order to disentangle possible boundary effects from finite size effects in the process of fluidisation, we implement a novel geometry-constrained protocol with periodic boundary conditions. We show that this protocol is well controlled and that the longtime fluidisation dynamics is, to a great extent, independent of the details of the protocol parameters. Our protocol, therefore, provides an ideal tool to investigate the bulk dynamics prior to yielding and to study finite size effects regarding the fluidisation process. Our study reveals the existence of precursors to fluidisation observed as a peak in the strain-rate fluctuations, that allows for a robust definition of a fluidisation time. Although the exponents in the power-law creep dynamics seem not to depend significantly on the system size, we reveal strong finite size effects for the onset of fluidisation.