Origin of unrealistic blunting during atomistic fracture simulations based on MEAM potentials

WS Ko and BJ Lee, PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE, 94, 1745-1753 (2014).

DOI: 10.1080/14786435.2014.895441

Atomistic simulations based on interatomic potentials have frequently failed to correctly reproduce the brittle fracture of materials, showing an unrealistic blunting. We analyse the origin of the unrealistic blunting during atomistic simulations by modified embedded-atom method (MEAM) potentials for experimentally well-known brittle materials such as bcc tungsten and diamond silicon. The radial cut-off which has been thought to give no influence on MEAM calculations is found to have a decisive effect on the crack propagation behaviour. Extending both cut- off distance and truncation range can prevent the unrealistic blunting, reproducing many well-known fracture behaviour which have been difficult to reproduce. The result provides a guideline for future atomistic simulations that focus on various fracture-related phenomena including the failure of metallic-covalent bonding material systems using MEAM potentials.

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