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  1. Short-timescale atomic rearrangements are fundamental to the kinetics of glasses and frequently dominated by one atom moving significantly (a rearrangement), while others relax only modestly. The rates and directions of such rearrangements (or hops) are dominated by the distributions of activation barriers ( E act ) for rearrangement for a single atom and how those distributions vary across the atoms in the system. We have used molecular dynamics simulations of Cu 50 Zr 50 metallic glass below T g in an isoconfigurational ensemble to catalog the ensemble of rearrangements from thousands of sites. The majority of atoms are strongly caged by their neighbors, but a tiny fraction has a very high propensity for rearrangement, which leads to a power-law variation in the cage-breaking probability for the atoms in the model. In addition, atoms generally have multiple accessible rearrangement vectors, each with its own E act . However, atoms with lower E act (or higher rearrangement rates) generally explored fewer possible rearrangement vectors, as the low E act path is explored far more than others. We discuss how our results influence future modeling efforts to predict the rearrangement vector of a hopping atom. 
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  3. Abstract

    Phyllosilicate minerals, due to their sheets structure and morphology, are known to cause anisotropy in bulk rock properties and make the bulk rock more compliant. Accurately characterizing the micromechanical behavior of phyllosilicate minerals from laboratory observations, which eventually translates to the bulk rock behavior, is still challenging due to their fine‐grained nature. Recent advances in atomistic simulations open the possibility of theoretically investigating such mineral mechanical behavior. We compare the elastic properties of biotites recovered by spherical nanoindentation with those predicted from density functional theory (DFT) simulations to investigate to what extent theoretical predictions reproduce actual phyllosilicate properties. Spherical nanoindentation was conducted using schist rocks from Poorman Formation, South Dakota, USA, to recover continuous indentation stress‐strain curves. Loading in the layer‐normal orientation shows an average indentation modulus () of about 35 GPa, while loading in the layer‐parallel orientation gives a higher average of about 95 GPa. To facilitate comparison, the elastic stiffness constants (cij) determined from DFT were converted to indentation modulus () using solutions proposed in this study. The majority of the nanoindentation modulus results are below the values inferred from the simulation results representing ideal defect‐free minerals. We suggest that crystal defects present at the nano‐scale, potentially ripplocations, are the dominant cause of the lower indentation modulus recovered from nanoindentation compared to those inferred from DFT simulations. Results highlight the importance of acknowledging the defects that exist down to the nano‐scale as it modifies the mechanical properties of phyllosilicates compared to its pure defect‐free form.

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