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Comment on "Mechanical heterogeneity and mechanism of plasticity in metallic glasses"



Lyle E. Levine


In a recently published letter by Wang et al.,1 the authors investigated the mechanical heterogeneity of three bulk metallic glasses with differing degrees of plasticity: brittle Fe41Co7Cr15Mo14C15B6Y2, highly plastic Zr64.13Cu15.75Ni10.12Al10 (ZrCuNiAl), and intermediate Zr46.75Ti8.25Cu7.5Ni10Be27.5. The authors report that the highly plastic ZrCuNiAl phase exhibits a bimodal hardness distribution over a length scale of several micrometers, and suggest that this distribution is directly responsible for the exceptional large compressive plasticity of this phase. If correct, this paper provides a cogent explanation for the mechanism underlying the desirable mechanical properties of this phase, with obvious extensions to other material systems. Even more importantly, the exceptionally large length scales of the reported hardness distributions would provide an opportunity to probe the fundamental atomic-level processes that lead to the apparent separation into two distinct amorphous structures of the same composition. For example, the short- and medium-range order (out to several nm) of the glass structures could be determined using the pair distribution function technique,2 with a spatial resolution comparable to the reported feature size.
Applied Physics Letters


bulk metallic glass, nanoindentation, statistical noise


Levine, L. (2010), Comment on "Mechanical heterogeneity and mechanism of plasticity in metallic glasses", Applied Physics Letters, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created January 12, 2010, Updated November 10, 2018