Thomas Voigtmann, in cooperation with the Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy (HZB), published an article in "Physical Review Letters". Together with his research group at the Zukunftskolleg Thomas Voigtmann developed a theoretical model that allows to qualitatively describe the different phases from creeping to ultimate materials failure. To prevent materials damage is a major concern in engineering applications, from the design of airplanes to that of bridges. The long-time exposure to even small external forces can cause extremely slow steady deformation, leading to structural damage over years or even decades. This "creep" deformation is particularly difficult to deal with, and it is still incompletely understood theoretically, since it involves highly nonlinear processes.
The newly developed model and its analysis of experimental data have now been published in “Physical Review Letters”. Original Paper: M. Siebenbürger, M. Ballauff, and Th. Voigtmann: "Creep in colloidal glasses", Physical Review Letters 108, 255701 (2012):