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Nat Commun. 2015 Sep 15;6:8123. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9123.

A predictive structural model for bulk metallic glasses.

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School of Materials Science and Engineering, UNSW Australia, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia.
Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, 2230 Tenth Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433 USA.


Great progress has been made in understanding the atomic structure of metallic glasses, but there is still no clear connection between atomic structure and glass-forming ability. Here we give new insights into perhaps the most important question in the field of amorphous metals: how can glass-forming ability be predicted from atomic structure? We give a new approach to modelling metallic glass atomic structures by solving three long-standing problems: we discover a new family of structural defects that discourage glass formation; we impose efficient local packing around all atoms simultaneously; and we enforce structural self-consistency. Fewer than a dozen binary structures satisfy these constraints, but extra degrees of freedom in structures with three or more different atom sizes significantly expand the number of relatively stable, 'bulk' metallic glasses. The present work gives a new approach towards achieving the long-sought goal of a predictive capability for bulk metallic glasses.

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