Intrinsic and extrinsic effects on the fracture toughness of ductile metallic glasses

H Li and QX Pei and ZD Sha and PS Branicio, MECHANICS OF MATERIALS, 162, 104066 (2021).

DOI: 10.1016/j.mechmat.2021.104066

The potential application of metallic glasses (MGs) as structural materials demands accurate measurements of their toughness and the understanding of the underlying factors affecting it. Currently, it is challenging to precisely measure the toughness of MGs, especially ductile MGs. Measured toughness values are widely scattered, even for MGs with identical compositions. That is attributed to the combined effect of intrinsic and extrinsic factors including processing, sample geometries, and loading conditions. A fundamental understanding of the influences of these elements is thus of great significance. In the present study, molecular dynamics simulations are performed to investigate the influence of intrinsic and extrinsic effects on the fracture toughness of CuZr MGs. In particular, focused is placed on the effects of cooling rate, notch shape and size, strain rate, and temperature. The results indicate that the fracture toughness of a MG scales with the cooling rate used to prepare it. This is attributed to increased free volume content generated at high cooling rates, which enhances plastic deformation and amplifies the associated energy dissipation during plastic deformation events. Fracture toughness also increases with the strain rate, arguably due to strain rate-induced crack extension delay. Overall, the results demonstrate that the largest fracture toughness are achieved when MG samples are fabricated at high cooling rates and subjected to high strain rate deformation. In addition, results suggest that the fracture toughness decreases with increasing temperature, due to the significant decrease in strength. The correlations revealed between these crucial intrinsic and extrinsic parameters and the calculated MG fracture toughness support the development of a framework to understand the root of the discrepancies in the measurement of the toughness of MGs and provide insights into the design of tough MGs for structural applications.

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