Deformation behavior of crystalline/amorphous Al-Si nanocomposites with nanolaminate or nanofibrous microstructures

BP Sahu and WQ Wu and J Wang and A Misra, PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS, 6, 094002 (2022).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.6.094002

Deformation mechanisms in sputter-deposited crystalline Al/amorphous Si nanocomposites with nanolaminate or nanofibrous morphology are characterized by nanoindentation, micropillar compression testing and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The nanofibrous composite having crystalline Al nanofibers with similar to 40-50 nm in length and 15-20 nm in diameter embedded in amorphous Si exhibits strain hardening to a maximum flow stress of 2.9 GPa and no shear band (SB) formation in compression up to plastic strain exceeding 24%. On the other hand, nanolaminate composite that is composed of 80 nm crystalline Al layers and 20 nm amorphous Si layers exhibits catastrophic SBs starting at plastic strains in the range of 5-10%. Cross-sectional TEM of the deformed samples reveals a high density of stacking faults and twin boundaries in Al nanofibers and no microshear bands in the nanofibrous composite, suggesting plastic deformation in amorphous Si phase and crystalline Al nanofibers. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that the plastic deformation in amorphous Si phase in the cosputtered films could be favored by the decrease in flow strength of amorphous Si with increasing Al solute concentration trapped in Si.

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