The mechanical properties of metallic glasses are not yet fully understood. In particular, there are still many uncertainties concerning the mechanisms of plastic deformation. To understand these mechanisms, it is important to understand how the material is ordered or disordered on an atomic scale. The configurational entropy is a measure of this (dis)order. Using synchrotron X-ray diffraction, Florian Spieckermann, Jürgen Eckert and colleagues from the Department of Materials Physics of the University of Leoben and the Erich Schmid Institute (Austrian Academy of Sciences), with cooperation partners from DESY in Hamburg, the University of Darmstadt, the University of Vienna and the P. J. Šafárik University in Košice, were able to make very small changes in configurational entropy visible at the atomic level with good time and space resolution. This opens up a new approach to the investigation of complex deformation mechanisms in amorphous materials. The scientists have recently published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Spieckermann, F., Şopu, D., Soprunyuk, V. et al. Structure-dynamics relationships in cryogenically deformed bulk metallic glass. Nat Commun13, 127 (2022). doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-27661-2
Link to a report in the journal TripleM of the University of Leoben: https://www.unileoben.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/triplem_2201_web.pdf
Fig 1: Synchrotron diffraction of metallic glass before (a) and after (b) crystallisation. (c) Smallest changes of the atomic structure are reflected in the pair correlation, which can be used to calculate a configurational entropy.