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Published September 13, 2016 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Origin of embrittlement in metallic glasses


Owing to their glassy nature, metallic glasses demonstrate a toughness that is extremely sensitive to the frozen-in configurational state. This sensitivity gives rise to "annealing embrittlement," which is often severe and in many respects limits the technological advancement of these materials. Here, equilibrium configurations (i.e., "inherent states") of a metallic glass are established around the glass transition, and the configurational properties along with the plane-strain fracture toughness are evaluated to associate the intrinsic glass toughness with the inherent state properties and identify the fundamental origin of embrittlement. The established correlations reveal a one-to-one correspondence between toughness and shear modulus continuous over a broad range of inherent states, suggesting that annealing embrittlement is controlled almost solely by an increasing resistance to shear flow. This annealing embrittlement sensitivity is shown to vary substantially between metallic glass compositions, and appears to correlate well with the fragility of the metallic glass.

Additional Information

© 2016 National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Pablo G. Debenedetti, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, and approved August 5, 2016 (received for review April 4, 2016). Published ahead of print August 29, 2016. The authors acknowledge contributions from J.-Y. Suh, J. Monohan, and K. Fritz; valuable discussions with K. Samwer and U. Ramamurty; and express their gratitude to G. Ravichandran for providing the testing apparatus for the fatigue tests. This work was supported in part by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Program of the National Science Foundation under Grant DMR-0520565, and by the Office of Naval Research under Grant N00014-07-1-1115. Author contributions: G.R.G., M.D.D., M.E.L., and W.L.J. designed research; G.R.G. performed research; G.R.G., M.D.D., M.E.L., and W.L.J. analyzed data; and G.R.G. and M.D.D. wrote the paper. Conflict of interest statement: G.R.G., M.D.D., M.E.L., and W.L.J. (consultant) are currently employed by Glassimetal Technology Inc. All authors have an ownership interest in the company. This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1610920113/-/DCSupplemental.

Attached Files

Published - PNAS-2016-Garrett-10257-62.pdf

Supplemental Material - pnas.201610920SI.pdf


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