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Understanding, predicting and eventually improving the resistance to fracture of silicate materials is of primary importance to design new glasses that would be tougher, while retaining their transparency. However, the atomic mechanism of the fracture in amorphous silicate materials is still a topic of debate. In particular, there is some controversy about the existence of ductility at the nano-scale during the crack propagation. Here, we present simulations of the fracture of three archetypical silicate glasses using molecular dynamics. We show that the methodology that is used provide realistic values of fracture energy and toughness. In addition, the simulations clearly suggest that silicate glasses can show different degrees of ductility, depending on their composition.
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