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Understanding ductile-to-brittle transition of metallic glasses from shear-transformation-zone dilatation
A theoretical model that takes into account the free-volume aided cooperative shearing of shear transformation zones (STZs) is developed to quantitatively understand the ductile-to-brittle transition (DBT) of metallic glasses. The STZ dilatational strain is defined as the ratio of STZ-activated free volume to STZ volume itself. The model demonstrates that the STZ dilatational strain will increase drastically and exceed the characteristic shear strain of STZ as temperature decreases below a critical value. This critical temperature is in good agreement with the experimentally measured DBT temperature. Our results suggest that the DBT of metallic glasses is underpinned by the transition of atomic-cluster motions from STZ-type rearrangements to dilatational processes (termed tension transformation zones (TTZs)).