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The Role of Multiple Polytypes in Determining the Catastrophic Failure of Boron Carbide at High Shock Velocities

  • Giovanni Fanchini (a1), James W McCauley (a2), Dale E Niesz (a3) and Manish Chhowalla (a4)

Abstract

The absence of a plastic phase in boron carbide and its failure at shock impact velocities just above the Hugoniot elastic limit (HEL) has been a puzzle for a long time. In the present work, using self-consistent field density functional simulations we are able to account for many experimental observations by noticing that several boron carbide polytypes [(B11C)C2B, (B12)C3, etc …] coexist without significant lattice distortions. Our analysis also indicates that above a threshold pressure all the candidate microstructures are less stable than a phase involving segregated boron (B12) and amorphous carbon (a-C) but the energetic barrier between boron carbide and B12 + 3C, is by far lower for the B12(CCC) microstructure, requiring the lowest atomic displacement for a transformation B4C→3B+a-C, occurring at pressures of 6 GPa = P(HEL). For such a configuration, segregation of free carbon occurs in layers orthogonal to the (113) lattice directions, in excellent agreement with recent transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis

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Keywords

The Role of Multiple Polytypes in Determining the Catastrophic Failure of Boron Carbide at High Shock Velocities

  • Giovanni Fanchini (a1), James W McCauley (a2), Dale E Niesz (a3) and Manish Chhowalla (a4)

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