Atomistic study on tensile fracture of densified silica glass and its dependence on strain rate*
ZQ Hu and JL Shao and YF Xie and Y Mei, CHINESE PHYSICS B, 29, 128101 (2020).
Densification is a major feature of silica glass that has received widespread attention. This work investigates the fracture behavior of densified silica glass upon uniaxial tension based on atomistic simulations. It is shown that the tensile strength of the silica glass approximately experiences a parabolic reduction with the initial density, while the densified samples show a faster power growth with the increase of strain rate. Meanwhile, the fracture strain and strain energy increase significantly when the densification exceeds a certain threshold, but fracture strain tends to the same value and strain energy becomes closer for different densified samples at extreme high strain rate. Microscopic views indicate that all the cracks are formed by the aggregation of nanoscale voids. The transition from brittleness fracture to ductility fracture can be found with the increase of strain rate, as a few fracture cracks change into a network distribution of many small cracks. Strikingly, for the high densified sample, there appears an evident plastic flow before fracture, which leads to the crack number less than the normal silica glass at the high strain rate. Furthermore, the coordinated silicon analysis suggests that high strain rate tension will especially lead to the transition from 4- to 3-fold Si when the high densified sample is in plastic flow.
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