Nanoductility in silicate glasses is driven by topological heterogeneity
- Author(s): Wang, Bu
- Yu, Yingtian
- Wang, Mengyi
- Mauro, John C
- Bauchy, Mathieu
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.93.064202
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.