Atomic Scale Medium Range Order and Relaxation Dynamics in Metallic Glass
University of Wisconsin-Madison
MetadataShow full item record
We studied the atomic scale structure of bulk metallic glass (BMG) with the combination of fluctuation electron microscopy (FEM) and hybrid reverse Monte Carlo (HRMC) simulation. Medium range order (MRO), which occupies the length scale between short range order (SRO) and long-range order, plays an important role on the properties of metallic glass, but the characterization of MRO in experiment is difficult because conventional techniques are not sensitive to the structure at MRO scale. Compared with the X-ray and neutron which can measure SRO by two-body correlation functions, FEM is an effective way to detect MRO structure through three and four-body correlation functions, providing information about the size, distribution, and internal structure of MRO combing HRMC modeling. Thickness estimation is necessary in FEM experiment and HRMC calculation, so in Chapter 3, we measured the elastic and inelastic mean free paths of metallic glass alloys based on focused ion beam prepared thin samples with measured thickness gradients. We developed a model based on the Wentzel atomic model to predict the elastic mean free path for other amorphous materials. In Chapter 4, we studied the correlation of MRO and glass forming ability ZrCuAl alloy. Results from Variable resolution fluctuation microscopy show that in Zr50Cu35Al15 the crystal-like clusters shrink but become more ordered, while icosahedral-like clusters grow. Compared with Zr50Cu45Al5, Zr50Cu35Al15 with poorer glass forming ability exhibits more stable crystal-like structure under annealing, indicating that destabilizing crystal-like structures is important to achieve better glass forming ability in this alloy. In Chapter 5, we studied the crystallization and MRO structural in deformed and quenched Ni60Nb40 metallic glass. The deformed Ni60Nb40 contains fewer icosahedral-like Voronoi clusters and more crystal-like and bcc-like Voronoi clusters. The crystal-like and bcc-like medium range order clusters may be the structural origin for its lower crystallization temperature compared with quenched alloy. Dynamics heterogeneity is proposed to be the microscopic origin of the dynamic nature of glass transition. Some experimental evidences and simulation have indicated that different regions of materials indeed relax at fast or slow rate. However, the spatial distribution of relaxation time visualized from experiment as the direct evidence of heterogeneous dynamics is still challenging. We proposed to measure the structural dynamics of supercooled metallic glasses with electron correlation microscopy (ECM) technique at the nanometer scale. ECM was developed as a way to measure structural relaxation times of liquids with nanometer-scale spatial resolution using the coherent electron scattering equivalent of photon correlation spectroscopy. In chapter 6, we studied the experimental requirements of ECM to obtain reliable results. For example, the trajectory length must be at least 40 times the relaxation time to obtain a well-converged g2(t), and the time per frame must be less than 0.1 time the relaxation time to obtain sufficient sampling. ECM experiment was firstly realized in scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) mode and applied to measure the structural relaxation time of Pd based metallic glass. In order to overcome the drift problem and capture the spatial information, we developed ECM experiment in dark field (DF) mode. In Chapter 7, through DF-ECM, we visualized the spatially heterogeneous dynamics by in-situ heating Pt57.5Cu14.7Ni5.3P22.5 nanowire into supercooled liquid state, and quantify the size of the heterogeneity by four point correlation function. The thickness effect and temporal evolution of the heterogeneous domain was also discussed. Additionally, a fast near surface dynamics was discovered, providing an effective mechanism for surface crystallization of liquids by homogeneous nucleation.
metallic glass, liquids, structure, dynamics, medium-range order