Composition and grain size effects on the structural and mechanical properties of CuZr nanoglasses

S Adibi and PS Branicio and YW Zhang and SP Joshi, JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS, 116, 043522 (2014).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4891450

Nanoglasses (NGs), metallic glasses (MGs) with a nanoscale grain structure, have the potential to considerably increase the ductility of traditional MGs while retaining their outstanding mechanical properties. We investigated the effects of composition on the structural and mechanical properties of CuZr NG films with grain sizes between 3 to 15 nm using molecular dynamics simulations. Results indicate a transition from localized shear banding to homogeneous superplastic flow with decreasing grain size, although the critical average grain size depends on composition: 5 nm for Cu36Zr64 and 3 nm for Cu64Zr36. The flow stress of the superplastic NG at different compositions follows the trend of the yield stress of the parent MG, i.e., Cu36Zr64 yield/flow stress: 2.54 GPa/1.29 GPa and Cu64Zr36 yield/flow stress: 3.57 GPa /1.58 GPa. Structural analysis indicates that the differences in mechanical behavior as a function of composition are rooted at the distinct statistics of prominent atomic Voronoi polyhedra. The mechanical behavior of NGs is also affected by the grain boundary thickness and the fraction of atoms at interfaces for a given average grain size. The results suggest that the composition dependence of the mechanical behavior of NGs follows that of their parent MGs, e. g., a stronger MG will generate a stronger NG, while the intrinsic tendency for homogeneous deformation occurring at small grain size is not affected by composition. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

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