Oxidation-induced superelasticity in metallic glass nanotubes

FC Li and ZB Zhang and HR Liu and WQ Zhu and TY Wang and M Park and JY Zhang and N Boenninghoff and XB Feng and HT Zhang and JH Luan and JG Wang and XD Liu and TH Chang and JP Chu and Y Lu and YH Liu and PF Guan and Y Yang, NATURE MATERIALS (2023).

DOI: 10.1038/s41563-023-01733-8

Although metallic nanostructures have been attracting tremendous research interest in nanoscience and nanotechnologies, it is known that environmental attacks, such as surface oxidation, can easily initiate cracking on the surface of metals, thus deteriorating their overall functional/structural properties(1-3). In sharp contrast, here we report that severely oxidized metallic glass nanotubes can attain an ultrahigh recoverable elastic strain of up to similar to 14% at room temperature, which outperform bulk metallic glasses, metallic glass nanowires and many other superelastic metals hitherto reported. Through in situ experiments and atomistic simulations, we reveal that the physical mechanisms underpinning the observed superelasticity can be attributed to the formation of a percolating oxide network in metallic glass nanotubes, which not only restricts atomic-scale plastic events during loading but also leads to the recovery of elastic rigidity on unloading. Our discovery implies that oxidation in low-dimensional metallic glasses can result in unique properties for applications in nanodevices.

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