Sharp stability estimates for the force-based quasicontinuum approximation of homogeneous tensile deformation

M. Dobson, M. Luskin, C. Ortner

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The accuracy of atomistic-to-continuum hybrid methods can be guaranteed only for deformations where the lattice configuration is stable for both the atomistic energy and the hybrid energy. For this reason, a sharp stability analysis of atomistic-to-continuum coupling methods is essential for evaluating their capabilities for predicting the formation of lattice defects. We formulate a simple one-dimensional model problem and give a detailed analysis of the linear stability of the force-based quasi continuum (QCF) method at homogeneous deformations. The focus of the analysis is the question of whether the QCF method is able to predict a critical load at which fracture occurs. Numerical experiments show that the spectrum of a line arized QCF operator is identical to the spectrum of a line arized energy-based quasi-non local quasi continuum (QNL) operator, which we know from our previous analyses to be positive below the critical load. However, the QCF operator is non normal, and it turns out that it is not generally positive definite, even when all of its eigen values are positive. Using a combination of rigorous analysis and numerical experiments, we investigate in detail for which choices of "function spaces" the QCF operator is stable, uniformly in the size of the atomistic system. copyright copyright

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-802
Number of pages21
JournalMultiscale Modeling and Simulation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


  • Atomistic-to-continuum coupling
  • Quasicontinuum method
  • Sharp stability estimates


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