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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. Understanding how nanoparticles deform under compression is not only of scientific importance, but also has practical significance in various applications such as tribology, nanoparticle-based probes, and dry grinding of raw materials. In this study, we conducted compression tests on model brittle glassy nanoparticles using molecular dynamics simulations. We found that during the early stages of plastic deformation, shear bands formed in a similar pattern regardless of nanoparticle size. However, as the deformation continued, dominant cracks emerged in large nanoparticles while being suppressed in smaller ones. This size-dependent brittle to ductile transition can be explained by a simple model based on Griffith's theory. We also investigated the effect of surface stress state on fracture using thermally tempered nanoparticles. We observed that the presence of compressive surface stress strengthened the nanoparticle by suppressing crack formation, even when a pre-notch was present. On the other hand, tensile surface stress had the opposite effect. Interestingly, nanoparticles with both tensile and compressive surface stress promoted shear deformation, which could potentially compromise the mechanical performance of tempered glass despite delayed crack formation. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 21, 2024
  3. Understanding the dynamics of shear band propagation in metallic glasses remains elusive due to the limited temporal and spatial scales accessible in experiments. In micron-scale molecular dynamics simulations on two model metallic glasses, we studied the propagation of a dominant shear band under uniaxial tension with a macroscopic strain of 3-5%. For both materials, the shear band can be intersonic with a propagation speed exceeding their respective shear wave speeds. The propagation exhibits intrinsic instability that manifests itself as microbranching and considerable fluctuations in velocity. The shear strain singularity ahead of propagating shear band tip scales as 1/r (r is the distance away from the tip), independent of the macroscopic tensile strain. In addition, we studied the intersection of two shear bands under uniaxial tension, during which path deflection, speed slowing-down, and temperature rise at the junction region were observed. The dynamics of propagating shear band shown here indicate that shear band in metallic glasses can be viewed as shear crack under the framework of weakly nonlinear fracture mechanics theory. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 15, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  5. Controlling nanoporosity to favorably alter multiple properties in layered crystalline inorganic thin films is a challenge. Here, we demonstrate that the thermoelectric and mechanical properties of Ca 3 Co 4 O 9 films can be engineered through nanoporosity control by annealing multiple Ca(OH) 2 /Co 3 O 4 reactant bilayers with characteristic bilayer thicknesses (b t ). Our results show that doubling b t , e.g. , from 12 to 26 nm, more than triples the average pore size from ∼120 nm to ∼400 nm and increases the pore fraction from 3% to 17.1%. The higher porosity film exhibits not only a 50% higher electrical conductivity of σ ∼ 90 S cm −1 and a high Seebeck coefficient of α ∼ 135 μV K −1 , but also a thermal conductivity as low as κ ∼ 0.87 W m −1 K −1 . The nanoporous Ca 3 Co 4 O 9 films exhibit greater mechanical compliance and resilience to bending than the bulk. These results indicate that annealing reactant multilayers with controlled thicknesses is an attractive way to engineer nanoporosity and realize mechanically flexible oxide-based thermoelectric materials. 
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