Title:

Stability and regularity of defects in crystalline solids

This thesis is devoted to the mathematical analysis of models describing the energy of defects in crystalline solids via variational methods. The first part of this work studies a discrete model describing the energy of a point defect in a one dimensional chain of atoms. We derive an expansion of the ground state energy using Gammaconvergence, following previous work on similar models [BDMG99,BC07,SSZ11]. The main novelty here is an explicit characterisation of the first order limit as the solution of a variational problem in an infinite lattice. Analysing this variational problem, we prove a regularity result for the perturbation caused by the defect, and demonstrate the order of the next term in the expansion. The second main topic is a discrete model describing screw dislocations in body centred cubic crystals. We formulate an anti plane lattice model which describes the energy difference between deformations and, using the framework defined in [AO05], provide a kinematic description of the Burgers vector, which is a key geometric quantity used to describe dislocations. Apart from the anti plane restriction, this model is invariant under all the natural symmetries of the lattice and in particular allows for the creation and annihilation of dislocations. The energy difference formulation enables us to provide a clear definition of what it means to be a stable deformation. The main results of the analysis of this model are then first, a proof that deformations with unit net Burgers vector exist as globally stable states in an infinite body, and second, that deformations containing multiple screw dislocations exist as locally stable states in both infinite bodies and finite convex bodies. To prove the former result, we establish coercivity with respect to the elastic strain, and exploit a concentration compactness principle. In the latter case, we use a form of the inverse function theorem, proving careful estimates on the residual and stability of an ansatz which combines continuum linear elasticity theory with an atomistic core correction.
