Nanoductility in silicate glasses is driven by topological heterogeneity
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Nanoductility in silicate glasses is driven by topological heterogeneity

  • Author(s): Wang, Bu;
  • Yu, Yingtian;
  • Wang, Mengyi;
  • Mauro, John C;
  • Bauchy, Mathieu
  • et al.

The existence of nanoscale ductility during the fracture of silicate glasses remains controversial. Here, based on molecular dynamics simulations coupled with topological constraint theory, we show that nano-ductility arises from the spatial heterogeneity of the atomic network's rigidity. Specifically, we report that localized floppy modes of deformation in under-constrained regions of the glass enable plastic deformations of the network, resulting in permanent change in bond configurations. Ultimately, these heterogeneous plastic events percolate, thereby resulting in a non-brittle mode of fracture. This suggests that nano-ductility is intrinsic to multi-component silicate glasses having nanoscale heterogeneities.

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