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The Fractal Packing Structure in Metallic Glasses

Universal scaling of the mass distribution in the atomic packing of metallic glasses (MGs). (A) Atomic configuration of a Ni80P20 MG sample from Molecular-Dynamics simulations; pink and blue balls represent Ni and P atoms, respectively; (B) and (C) show the analysis of distance-dependent mass distribution for the packing of all atoms and solute-centered clusters, respectively, among all studied MGs.

Scientific Achievement
Clarified the long-standing debate over the packing structure of metallic glasses (MGs) from the perspective of fractal models.

Significance and Impact
Demonstrated a lack of fractal structure in metallic glasses, considering the packing of all atoms or solute-centered clusters and clarified how percolation theory applies to MGs, which has important consequences for understanding amorphous solids.

Research Details

  • Metallic glass samples were prepared using molecular dynamics simulation and various hydrostatic pressures were applied on those amorphous alloys.
  • Detailed fractal and percolation analysis were implemented on metallic glass samples to reveal their fractal dimensionality and percolation cluster structure.

J. Ding, M. Asta, R.O. Ritchie, PNAS (2017) doi: 10.1073/pnas.1705723114