Tensile Strength of Liquids: Equivalence of Temporal and Spatial Scales in Cavitation

Y Cai and JY Huang and HA Wu and MH Zhu and WA Goddard and SN Luo, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LETTERS, 7, 806-810 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.5b02798

It is well known that strain rate and size effects are both important in material failure, but the relationships between them are poorly understood. To establish this connection, we carry out molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of cavitation in Lennard-Jones and Cu liquids over a very broad range of size and strain rate. These studies confirm that temporal and spatial scales play equivalent roles in the tensile strengths of these two liquids. Predictions based on smallest-scale MD simulations of Cu for larger temporal and spatial scales are consistent with independent simulations, and comparable to experiments on liquid metals. We analyze these results in terms of classical nucleation theory and show that the equivalence arises from the role of both size and strain rate in the nucleation of a daughter phase. Such equivalence is expected to hold for a wide range of materials and processes and to be useful as a predictive bridging tool in multiscale studies.

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