Wednesday, June 5, 2013

1306.0277 (M. A. Annunziata et al.)

Hardening transition in a one-dimensional model for ferrogels    [PDF]

M. A. Annunziata, A. M. Menzel, H. Löwen
We introduce and investigate a coarse-grained model for quasi one-dimensional ferrogels. In our description the magnetic particles are represented by hard spheres with a magnetic dipole moment in their centers. Harmonic springs connecting these spheres mimic the presence of a cross-linked polymer matrix. A special emphasis is put on the coupling of the dipolar orientations to the elastic deformations of the matrix, where a memory effect of the orientations is included. Although the particles are displaced along one spatial direction only, the system already shows rich behavior: as a function of the magnetic dipole moment, we find a phase transition between "soft-elastic" states with finite interparticle separation and finite compressive elastic modulus on the one hand, and "hardened" states with touching particles and therefore diverging compressive elastic modulus on the other hand. Corresponding phase diagrams are derived neglecting thermal fluctuations of the magnetic particles. In addition, we consider a situation in which a spatially homogeneous magnetization is initially imprinted into the material. Depending on the strength of the magneto-mechanical coupling between the dipole orientations and the elastic deformations, the system then relaxes to a uniaxially ferromagnetic, an antiferromagnetic, or a spiral state of magnetization to minimize its energy. One purpose of our work is to provide a largely analytically solvable approach that can provide a benchmark to test future descriptions of higher complexity. From an applied point of view, our results could be exploited, for example, for the construction of novel damping devices of tunable shock absorbance.
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