Atomic-level deformation of CuxZr100-x metallic glasses under shock loading

Brian J. Demaske, Peng Wen, Simon R. Phillpot and Douglas E. Spearot

Journal of Applied Physics 123, 215101 (2018)

Plastic deformation mechanisms in CuxZr100-x bulk metallic glasses (MGs) subjected to shock are investigated using molecular dynamics simulations. MGs with Cu compositions between 30 and 70 at. % subjected to shock waves generated via piston velocities that range from 0.125 to 2.0 km/s are considered. In agreement with prior studies, plastic deformation is initiated via formation of localized regions of high von Mises shear strain, known as shear transformation zones (STZs). At low impact velocities, but above the Hugoniot elastic limit, STZ nucleation is dispersed behind the shock front. As impact velocity is increased, STZ nucleation becomes more homogeneous, eventually leading to shock-induced melting, which is identified in this work via high atomic diffusivity. The shear stress necessary to initiate plastic deformation within the shock front is independent of composition at shock intensities near the elastic limit but increases with increasing Cu content at high shock intensities. By contrast, both the flow stress in the plastically deformed MG and the critical shock pressure associated with melting behind the shock front are found to increase with increasing Cu content over the entire range of impact velocities. The evolution of the shortrange order in the MG samples during shock wave propagation is analyzed using a polydisperse Voronoi tessellation method. Cu-centered polyhedra with full icosahedral symmetry are found to be most resistant to change under shock loading independent of the MG composition. A saturation is observed in the involvement of select Cu-centered polyhedra in the plastic deformation processes at a piston velocity around 0.75 km/s.