Scanning tunneling microscope observations of metallic glass fracture surfaces

Abstract

We report scanning tunneling microscope observations of fracture surfaces formed during catastrophic crack growth in three metallic glasses: Ni56Cr18Si22B4, Co69Fe4Ni1Mo2B12Si12, and Fe78B13Si9. Macroscopically, the first two glasses fail along a slip band formed during loading and display a characteristic, μm-scale pattern of vein-like ridges; in contrast, Fe78B13Si9 displays little slip prior to fracture, and its fracture surface shows a μm-scale chevron pattern of steps. STM observations of fracture surfaces of all three materials show nm-scale grooves. The grooves in Co69Fe4Ni1Mo2B12Si12 are especially prominent and display stepped edges which we attribute to the intersection of shear bands with the surface. STM observations of the vein-like features on Ni56Cr18Si22B4 also show stepped edges. We attribute the vein features to the interaction of adjacent crack fingers in which the material between adjacent fingers fails in plane stress. The origin of the grooves is uncertain, but may be due to other shear instabilities along crack fingers.

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Correspondence to D. M. Kulawansa.

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Kulawansa, D.M., Dickinson, J.T., Langford, S.C. et al. Scanning tunneling microscope observations of metallic glass fracture surfaces. Journal of Materials Research 8, 2543–2553 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1557/JMR.1993.2543

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