Archive 9 March 2021

Characterisation of shear bands and plasticity in model glasses at the atomic scale

First synthesised in the 60’s, the metallic glasses are a very promising class of material thanks to their very high yield strength. Yet, these materials are also very brittle due to the formation of persistent shear bands which concentrate plastic deformation.

In this thesis, we perform atomistic simulations with a simple two-dimensional binary Lennard-Jones model glass. To link plasticity and the material structure, we use a novel structural indicator, the local yield stress. 

Through this measure, the material average local yield stress is shown to increase as the degree of relaxation increases. We also find the existence of a unique post-yield shear threshold distribution, independent on the initial state of the material.

By the mean of an elementary model, the origin of the Bauschinger effect in amorphous solids (a plasticity-induced  asymmetry of the mechanical behaviour) is found to arise from the inversion of the low yield barriers population anisotropy during the unloading.

Then, by considering systems of different sizes and degrees of relaxation the persistence of plasticity, and thus the formation of shear-bands, is shown to mostly depend on the degree of relaxation of the system.

Finally, in well relaxed glasses, a correlation between the location of the shear band and the initial soft regions is shown. As further loading is applied on the material, a diffusive broadening of the shear band is observed.

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