Microstructure and mechanical properties of a partially crystallized La-based bulk metallic glass

Philosophical Magazine 83 (15):1747-1760 (2003)

The evolution of microstructure upon partial crystallization and its influence on the mechanical properties such as hardness, elastic modulus and viscosity in a La 55 Al 25 Cu 10 Ni 5 Co 5 bulk metallic glass alloy are studied. Specimens with various volume fractions of crystalline phases were obtained by annealing the as-cast amorphous alloy above its glass transition temperature and were characterized by transmission electron microscopy. Microscopic examination of the heat-treated samples shows short-range-ordered domains prior to nanocrystallization within the amorphous matrix, followed by the growth and impingement of the crystallites. Whereas the hardness of the annealed samples increases linearly with increasing crystallinity, the elastic modulus and the viscosity both increase abruptly when the crystalline volume fraction is about 40 vol.%, with a only minor variation on either side of this range. The sudden rises in the modulus and viscosity are similar to those in the literature data on the fracture strength of partially crystallized bulk amorphous alloys that shows a steep drop in strength at 30-50 vol.% crystallinity. On the basis of the microscopic observations, it is suggested that the interaction and formation of rigid networks of crystalline phases upon the attainment of a critical second-phase volume fraction may be the possible reason for the sudden change in mechanical properties. Percolation theory is utilized in further substantiating this hypothesis
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DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0141861861031000104163
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