Mechanisms for fracture and fatigue-crack propagation in a bulk metallic glass

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

185 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1739-1753
Journal / PublicationMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes


The fracture and fatigue properties of a newly developed bulk metallic glass alloy, Zr41.2Ti13.8Cu12.3 Ni10Be22.5 (at. pct), have been examined. Experimental measurements using conventional fatigue precracked compact-tension C(T) specimens (∼7-mm thick) indicated that the fully amorphous alloy has a plane-strain fracture toughness comparable to polycrystalline aluminum alloys. However, significant variability was observed and possible sources are identified. The fracture surfaces exhibited a vein morphology typical of metallic glasses, and, in some cases, evidence for local melting was observed. Attempts were made to rationalize the fracture toughness in terms of a previously developed micromechanical model based on the Taylor instability, as well as on the observation of extensive crack branching and deflection. Upon partial or complete crystallization, however, the alloy was severely embrittled, with toughnesses dropping to ∼1 MPa √m. Commensurate with this drop in toughness was a marginal increase in hardness and a reduction in ductility (as measured via depthsensing indentation experiments). Under cyclic loading, crack-propagation behavior in the amorphous structure was similar to that observed in polycrystalline steel and aluminum alloys. Moreover, the crack-advance mechanism was associated with alternating blunting and resharpening of the crack tip. This was evidenced by striations on fatigue fracture surfaces. Conversely, the (unnotched) stress/life (S/N) properties were markedly different. Crack initiation and subsequent growth occurred quite readily, due to the lack of microstructural barriers that would normally provide local crack-arrest points. This resulted in a low fatigue limit of ∼4 pet of ultimate tensile strength.

Citation Format(s)