Shear transformations in metallic glasses without excessive and predefinable defects
Z Zhang and J Ding and E Ma, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 119, e2213941119 (2022).
Plastic flow in metallic glasses (MGs) is known to be mediated by shear transformations (STs), which have been hypothesized to preferentially initiate from identifiable local "defect" regions with loose atomic packing. Here we show that the above idea is incorrect, i.e., STs do not arise from signature structural defects that can be recognized a priori. This conclusion is reached via a realistic MG model obtained by combining molecular dynamics (MD) and Monte Carlo simulations, achieving liquid solidification at an effective cooling rate as slow as 500 K/s to approach that typical in experiments for producing bulk MGs. At shear stresses before global yielding, only about 2% of the total atoms participate in STs, each event involving typically similar to 10 atoms. These observations rectify the excessive content of "liquid-like regions" retained from unrealistically fast quench in MD-produced glass models. Our findings also shed light on the indeterministic aspect of the ST sites/zones, which emerge with varying spatial locations and distribution depending on specific mechanical loading conditions.
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