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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Oct 28;107(18):185502. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Probing shear-band initiation in metallic glasses.

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Laboratory of Metal Physics and Technology, Department of Materials, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland.


In situ acoustic emission monitoring is shown to capture the initiation of shear bands in metallic glasses. A model picture is inferred from stick-slip flow in granular media such that the origin of acoustic emission is attributed to a mechanism of structural dilatation. By employing a quantitative approach, the critical volume change associated with shear-band initiation in a metallic glass is estimated to be a few percent only. This result agrees with typical values of excess free volume found in the supercooled liquid regime near the glass transition temperature.

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