The mechanical properties of crystalline materials can be quantitatively described by crystal defects of solute atoms, dislocations, twins, and grain boundaries with the models of solid solution strengthening, Taylor strain hardening and Hall–Petch grain boundary strengthening. However, for metallic glasses, a well-defined structure feature which dominates the mechanical properties of the disordered materials is still missing. Here, we report that nanoscale spatial heterogeneity is the inherent structural feature of metallic glasses. It has an intrinsic correlation with the strength and deformation behavior. The strength and Young’s modulus of metallic glasses can be defined by the function of the square root reciprocal of the characteristic length of the spatial heterogeneity. Moreover, the stretching exponent of time-dependent strain relaxation can be quantitatively described by the characteristic length. Our study provides compelling evidence that the spatial heterogeneity is a feasible structural indicator for portraying mechanical properties of metallic glasses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)