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Published May 1, 2006 | public
Journal Article Open

Plastic deformation of metallic glasses: Size of shear transformation zones from molecular dynamics simulations


Plastic deformation in metallic glasses well below their glass transition temperatures Tg occurs spatially heterogeneously within highly localized regions, termed shear transformation zones (STZs). Yet, their size and the number of atoms involved in a local shear event, remains greatly unclear. With the help of classical molecular dynamics (MD) computer simulations on plastic deformation of the model glass CuTi during pure shearing, we address this issue by evaluating correlations in atomic-scale plastic displacements, viz. the displacement correlation function. From the correlation length, a universal diameter of about 15 Å, or, equivalently, approximately 120 atoms is derived for a variety of conditions, such as variable strains, strain rates, temperatures, and boundary conditions. Our findings are consistent with a recent model proposed by Johnson and Samwer [Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 195501 (2005)].

Additional Information

©2006 The American Physical Society (Received 19 April 2006; published 24 May 2006) M. Zink wishes to acknowledge the support by M. Jungsbluth and T. Edler for their help with the script programming for data analysis. Financial support by the German DFG—SFB 602 and the G.I.F, Grant No. G-2103-1428.14/2004 as well as a grant of computing time by the Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Datenverarbeitung Göttingen GWDG is gratefully acknowledged.


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