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Interfacial plasticity governs strain delocalization in metallic nanoglasses

  • Bin Cheng (a1) and Jason R. Trelewicz (a2)


Intrinsic size effects in nanoglass plasticity have been connected to the structural length scales imposed by the interfacial network, and control over this behavior is critical to designing amorphous alloys with improved mechanical response. In this paper, atomistic simulations are employed to probe strain delocalization in nanoglasses with explicit correlation to the interfacial characteristics and length scales of the amorphous grain structure. We show that strength is independent of grain size under certain conditions, but scales with the excess free volume and degree of short-range ordering in the interfaces. Structural homogenization upon annealing of the nanoglasses increases their strength toward the value of the bulk metallic glass; however, continued partitioning of strain to the interfacial regions inhibits the formation of a primary shear band. Intrinsic size effects in nanoglass plasticity thus originate from biased plastic strain accumulation within the interfacial regions, which will ultimately govern strain delocalization and homogenous flow in nanoglasses.


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