Effect of heat treatment paths on the aging and rejuvenation of metallic glasses

SY Yuan and AY Liang and C Liu and L Tian and N Mousseau and PS Branicio, PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS, 7, 123603 (2023).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.7.123603

This study explores the influence of heat treatment paths on the structural relaxation of metallic glasses (MGs) in the regime of fast dynamics. We create MG samples using various quenching rates, from 10(9) to 10(11) K/s, and expose these samples to near-T-g heat treatments with assorted combinations of heating (cooling) rates, from 5 x 10(10) to 5 x 10(12) K/s, and annealing durations, from 10 ps to 10 ns. Results show that the effect of the heating rate is intricately tied to the initial structure of the MG, while a decrease in the cooling rate invariably intensifies the aging process. Extending the annealing duration may induce either aging or rejuvenation, subject to the specific thermal history. To interpret these findings, we hypothesize that the memory effect, governed by the activation and annihilation of reversible and irreversible flow units, underpins the rejuvenation-aging competition in MGs. Moreover, we suggest viewing the cooling stage as an annealing phase controlled by gradient temperature and fine-tuning its rate to achieve the targeted active-flow unit distributions. This study illuminates the role of fast dynamics during the glass relaxation process and offers practical strategies for tailoring heat treatments to optimize MG structures and mechanical performance.

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