Mechanisms of Failure in Nanoscale Metallic Glass

XW Gu and M Jafary-Zadeh and DZ Chen and ZX Wu and YW Zhang and DJ Srolovitz and JR Greer, NANO LETTERS, 14, 5858-5864 (2014).

DOI: 10.1021/nl5027869

The emergence of size-dependent mechanical strength in nanosized materials is now well-established, but no fundamental understanding of fracture toughness or flaw sensitivity in nanostructures exists. We report the fabrication and in situ fracture testing of similar to 70 nm diameter NiP metallic glass samples with a structural flaw. Failure occurs at the structural flaw in all cases, and the failure strength of flawed samples was reduced by 40% compared to unflawed samples. We explore deformation and failure mechanisms in a similar nanometallic glass via molecular dynamics simulations, which corroborate sensitivity to flaws and reveal that the structural flaw shifts the failure mechanism from shear banding to cavitation. We find that failure strength and deformation in amorphous nanosolids depend critically on the presence of flaws.

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