Relevance of structural defects to the mechanism of mechanical deformation in metallic glasses

CKC Lieou and T Egami, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 13, 15979 (2023).

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-42685-y

It is known that deformation in disordered materials such as metallic glasses and supercooled liquids occurs via the cooperative rearrangement of atoms or constituent particles at dynamical heterogeneities, commonly regarded as point-like defects. We show via molecular-dynamics simulations that there is no apparent relationship between atomic rearrangements and the local atomic environment as measured by the atomic-level stresses, kinetic and potential energies, and the per-atom Voronoi volume. In addition, there is only a weak correlation between atomic rearrangements and the largest and smallest eigenvalues of the dynamical matrix. Our results confirm the transient nature of dynamical heterogeneities and suggest that the notion of defects may be less relevant than that of a propensity for rearrangement.

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