Plastic Avalanches in Metal-Organic Framework Crystals Due to the Dynamic Phase Mixing

J Zhang and J Ke and B Wang and XM Chen, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 15, 54692-54701 (2023).

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.3c13480

The compressive properties of metal-organic framework (MOF) crystals are not only crucial for their densification process but also key in determining their performance in many applications. We herein investigated the mechanical responses of a classic crystalline MOF, HKUST-1, using in situ compression tests. A serrated flow accompanied by the unique strain avalanches was found in individual and contacting crystals before their final flattening or fracture with splitting cracks. The plastic flow with serrations is ascribed to the dynamic phase mixing due to the progressive and irreversible local phase transition in HKUST-1 crystals, as revealed by molecular dynamics and finite element simulations. Such pressure-induced phase coexistence in HKUST-1 crystals also induces a significant loading-history dependence of their Young's modulus. The observation of plastic avalanches in HKUST-1 crystals here not only expands our current understanding of the plasticity of MOF crystals but also unveils a novel mechanism for the avalanches and plastic flow in crystal plasticity.

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