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Universal Structural Parameter to Quantitatively Predict Metallic Glass Properties

Flexibility volume, vflex,i correlates strongly with local atomic packing structure in a Cu64Zr36 metallic glass (top). Contoured maps show the spatial distribution of flexibility volume (see sidebar) and white spots superimposed in the maps mark the locations of atoms under shear transformation (bottom).

Scientific Achievement
Developed a structural parameter, termed the "flexibility volume", as a universal indicator to bridge the structural state of metallic glass with its properties, at both atomic and macroscopic levels.

Significance and Impact
Having identified robust and mathematically-derivable relationships provides the link between metallic glass structure and properties in these alloys which addresses a pressing and long-sought challenge in the field of amorphous alloys.

Research Details

  • Calculations were performed using molecular dynamics simulations to reveal the atomic-level flexibility volume in metallic glasses as well as their atomic packing structure, shear modulus, and the energy barrier for thermally- activated relaxation and propensity for stress-driven shear transformations.

J Ding, YQ Cheng, HW Sheng, M Asta, RO Ritchie, E Ma, Nature Communications, vol. 7, p. 13733, Dec. 12, 2016, (doi: 10.1038/ncomms13733).